A Proposal on Belief, Abduction and Interpretation

  • Claudio Pizzi
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 2)


The paper starts from the claim that every assertion of belief may be analyzed into an assertion about a counterfactual surprise of the believer in front of a dissonant knowledge. The notion of a counterfactual surprise can be usefully related to the well studied notion of Shackle’s potential surprise. In §2 the author stresses the difference between explanation and abduction on one side and interpretation on the other, maintaining that interpretation expresses what the interpreter believes to be the best explanation of the interpreted fact. The analysis which is proposed takes for granted the classical distinction between doxa and episteme, i.e. between a subjective and an objective dimension of the epistemic enterprise. However, in §1 belief is defined by making reference to knowledge, so reversing a relation which has been established by a deeply rooted philosophical tradition.


Good Explanation Conditional Operator Abductive Inference Wrong Number Subjective Distributional Probability 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia e Scienze SocialiUniversità di SienaSienaItaly

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