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Synthese

, Volume 181, Issue 1, pp 3–21 | Cite as

Reichenbach’s cubical universe and the problem of the external world

  • Elliott SoberEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper is a sympathetic critique of the argument that Reichenbach develops in Chap. 2 of Experience and Prediction for the thesis that sense experience justifies belief in the existence of an external world. After discussing his attack on the positivist theory of meaning, I describe the probability ideas that Reichenbach presents. I argue that Reichenbach begins with an argument grounded in the Law of Likelihood but that he then endorses a different argument that involves prior probabilities. I try to show how this second step in Reichenbach’s approach can be strengthened by using ideas that have been developed recently for understanding causation in terms of the idea of intervention.

Keywords

Common cause Correlation External world Likelihood Realism Reichenbach Solipsism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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