Data meet theory: up close and inferentially personal
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- Votsis, I. Synthese (2011) 182: 89. doi:10.1007/s11229-009-9614-9
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In a recent paper James Bogen and James Woodward denounce a set of views on confirmation that they collectively brand ‘IRS’. The supporters of these views cast confirmation in terms of Inferential Relations between observational and theoretical Sentences. Against IRS accounts of confirmation, Bogen and Woodward unveil two main objections: (a) inferential relations are not necessary to model confirmation relations since many data are neither in sentential form nor can they be put in such a form and (b) inferential relations are not sufficient to model confirmation relations because the former cannot capture evidentially relevant factors about the detection processes and instruments that generate the data. In this paper I have a two-fold aim: (i) to show that Bogen and Woodward fail to provide compelling grounds for the rejection of IRS models and (ii) to highlight some of the models’ neglected merits.