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Synthese

, Volume 175, Issue 3, pp 427–440 | Cite as

“The Ravens Paradox” is a misnomer

  • Roger Clarke
Article

Abstract

I argue that the standard Bayesian solution to the ravens paradox— generally accepted as the most successful solution to the paradox—is insufficiently general. I give an instance of the paradox which is not solved by the standard Bayesian solution. I defend a new, more general solution, which is compatible with the Bayesian account of confirmation. As a solution to the paradox, I argue that the ravens hypothesis ought not to be held equivalent to its contrapositive; more interestingly, I argue that how we formally represent hypotheses ought to vary with the context of inquiry. This explains why the paradox is compelling, while dealing with standard objections to holding hypotheses inequivalent to their contrapositives.

Keywords

Confirmation Ravens paradox Hempel’s paradox Bayesian epistemology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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