, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 291-311

A Fuzzy Measure for Explanatory Coherence

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Abstract

In a series of articles, Paul Thagard has developed a connectionist's modelfor the evaluation of explanatory coherence for competing systems ofhypotheses. He has successfully applied it to various examples from thehistory of science and common language reasoning. However, I will argue thathis formalism does not adequately represent explanatory relations betweenmore than two propositions.In this paper, I develop a generalization of Thagard's approach. It is notsubject to the connectionist paradigm of neural nets, but is based on fuzzylogic: Explanatory coherence increases with the fuzzy truth value of theconjunction of explanans and explanandum and decreases with the value of theconjunction of explanans and the negation of the explanandum.