Is Explanatoriness a Guide to Confirmation? A Reply to Climenhaga
- 99 Downloads
We (2013, 2014) argued that explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant in the following sense: Let H be a hypothesis, O an observation, and E the proposition that H would explain O if H and O were true. Then our claim is that Pr(H | O & E) = Pr(H | O). We defended this screening-off thesis (SOT) by discussing an example concerning smoking and cancer. Climenhaga (Philos Sci, forthcoming) argues that SOT is mistaken because it delivers the wrong verdict about a slightly different smoking-and-cancer case. He also considers a variant of SOT, called “SOT*”, and contends that it too gives the wrong result. We here reply to Climenhaga’s arguments and suggest that SOT provides a criticism of the widely held theory of inference called “inference to the best explanation”.
KeywordsBayesianism Climenhaga Confirmation Explanatoriness Inference to the best explanation Screening-off
Thanks to an anonymous referee for a helpful comment on a prior version of the paper.
- Climenhaga, N. (forthcoming). How explanation guides confirmation. Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
- Douven, I., & Wenmackers, S. (2015). Inference to the best explanation versus Bayes’s rule in a social setting. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. doi: 10.1093/bjps/axv025.
- Howson, C., & Urbach, P. (1993). Scientific reasoning: The Bayesian approach (2nd ed.). Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
- Lipton, P. (2004). Inference to the best explanation (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- McCain, K., & Poston, T. (2014). Why explanatoriness is evidentially irrelevant. Thought, 3, 145–153.Google Scholar
- Roche, W., & Sober, E. (2014). Explanatoriness and evidence: A reply to McCain and Poston. Thought, 3, 193–199.Google Scholar
- Romeijn, J. (2016). Philosophy of statistics. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2016 ed). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/statistics/.
- Vassend, O., Sober, E., & Fitelson, B. (2017). The philosophical significance of Stein’s Paradox. European Journal for Philosophy of Science. doi: 10.1007/s13194-016-0168-7.
- Vigen, T. (2015). Spurious correlations. New York: Hachette Books.Google Scholar