Causal Inference as Inference to the Best Explanation

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Abstract
We argue that a modified version of Mill’s method of agreement can strongly confirm causal generalizations. This mode of causal inference implicates the explanatory virtues of mechanism, analogy, consilience, and simplicity, and we identify it as a species of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). Since rational causal inference provides normative guidance, IBE is not a heuristic for Bayesian rationality. We give it an objective Bayesian formalization, one that has no need of principles of indifference and yields responses to the Voltaire objection, van Fraassen’s Bad Lot objection, and John Norton’s recent objection to IBE.
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Archival date: 2022-07-13
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2022-07-13

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