Evidence, Hypothesis, and Grue

Erkenntnis 79 (3):571-591 (2014)
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Abstract
Extant literature on Goodman’s ‘New Riddle of Induction’ deals mainly with two versions. I consider both of them, starting from the (‘epistemic’) version of Goodman’s classic of 1954. It turns out that it belongs to the realm of applications of inductive logic, and that it can be resolved by admitting only significant evidence (as I call it) for confirmations of hypotheses. Sect. 1 prepares some ground for the argument. As much of it depends on the notion of evidential significance, this concept is defined and its introduction motivated. Further, I introduce and explain the distinction between support and confirmation: put in a slogan, ‘confirmation is support by significant evidence’. The second section deals with the Riddle itself. I demonstrate that, given the provisions of the first section, not ‘anything confirms anything’: significant green-evidence confirms only green-hypotheses (and no grue-hypotheses), and significant grue-evidence confirms only grue-hypotheses (and no green-hypotheses), whichever terms we use for expressing these evidences or hypotheses. The third section rounds off my treatment. First I show that Frank Jackson’s use of his counterfactual condition is unsuccessful. Further, I argue that no unwanted consequences result, if one starts from the other, ‘objective’, definition of ‘grue’, as it constitutes no more than a mere fact of logic that cannot do any harm. Finally, I present a grue-case involving both kinds of definition, where the exclusive confirmation of either the green- or the grue-hypothesis is shown.
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2014
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SCHEHA-3
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Archival date: 2019-01-28
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Knowledge and its Limits.Williamson, Timothy

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