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On Representing Evidence

  • Maria Carla Galavotti
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 368)

Abstract

This contribution addresses a number of issues related to the representation, use and appraisal of evidence, with a special focus on the health sciences and law. It is argued that evidence is a trans-disciplinary notion whose distinctive trait is its capacity to provide a link between some body of information and some hypothesis such information supports or negates. As such, evidence is strictly associated with relevance, and like relevance it is intrinsically context-dependent. An analysis of evidence has to address a number of issues, including the epistemic context of reference, the general or particular nature of the hypothesis under scrutiny, the predictive or explanatory character of the inference in which evidence is involved, and the stage at which a given body of evidence is being used within a complex inferential process. Moreover, an awareness of the context in which evidence is appraised recommends that all assumptions underlying the representation of evidence be rigorously spelled out and justified case by case, and the ultimate aims of evidence be clearly specified.

Keywords

Evidence Scientific inference Explanation Prediction Manipulation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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