Why Confirm Laws?

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We argue that a particular approach to satisfying the broad predictive ambitions of the sciences demands law confirmation. On this approach we confirm non-nomic generalizations by confirming there are no actually realized ways of causing disconfirming cases. This gives causal generalizations a crucial role in prediction. We then show how rational judgements of relevant causal similarity can be used to confirm that causal generalizations themselves have no actual disconfirmers, providing a distinctive and clearly viable methodology for inductively confirming them. Finally, we argue that for agents in our epistemic position using this methodology to confirm causal generalizations of adequate breadth will commonly demand law confirmation. We make a prima facie assessment of the methodology’s fit with scientific practice and briefly consider the prospects for an associated analysis of laws.
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Archival date: 2021-04-03
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