Evidence

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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Summary

The notion of evidence features importantly in epistemology and philosophy of science. There are three primary questions that a theory of evidence must address. The constitution question asks: What is the nature of evidence? A major divide in answers to the constitution question is between those who think that all evidence is propositional and those who think that some evidence is non-propositional. The possession question asks: When does someone possess a piece of information as evidence? Restrictive views of evidence possession hold that one has as evidence only information that one is consciously entertaining. More inclusive views of evidence possession hold that one’s evidence includes non-occurrent information, such as stored memories. Lastly, a theory of evidence must address the positive support question. In philosophy of science and formal epistemology the positive support question is: When is a hypothesis confirmed by evidence? In contemporary epistemology the positive support question is: When is a belief justified by evidence?

Introductions Encyclopedia entries on evidence include DiFate 2007 and Kelly 2006. Additional overviews of evidence include Conee & Feldman 2008 and Kelly 2008.
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  1. Theory, Evidence, Data: Themes from George E. Smith.Marius Stan & Christopher Smeenk - forthcoming - Springer.
    A volume of papers inspired by the work of George E. Smith on confirmation and evidence in advanced science—from Newton's gravitation theory to the physics of molecules.
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  2. Against Imprinting: The Photographic Image as a Source of Evidence.Dawn M. Wilson - 2022 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 89 (4):947-969.
    A photographic image is said to provide evidence of a photographed scene because it is a causal imprint of reflected light, an indexical trace of real objects and events. Though widely established in the history, theory, and philosophy of photography, this traditional imprinting model must be rejected because it relies on a “single-stage” misconception of the photographic process: the idea that a photographic image comes into existence at the time of exposure. In its place, a “multistage” account properly articulates different (...)
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  3. The Fragile Epistemology of Fanaticism.Joshua DiPaolo - 2020 - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY, USA: pp. 217-235.
    Are fanatical beliefs rational? This paper examines this question. After outlining two arguments for the rationality of fanatical beliefs, based respectively on what I call the "crippled epistemology" explanation and the "echo chambers" explanation, the paper rejects these arguments by appeal to considerations related to higher-order evidence. Then it explains what defending the rationality of fanatical beliefs actually requires. From this, it derives the practical conclusion that radicalization can be prevented and the growth of fanaticism stalled by preventing the encroachment (...)
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  4. Absence of evidence against belief as credence 1.Andrew del Rio - forthcoming - Analysis.
    On one view of the traditional doxastic attitudes, belief is credence 1, disbelief is credence 0 and suspension is any precise credence between 0 and 1. In ‘Rational agnosticism and degrees of belief’ (2013) Jane Friedman argues, against this view, that there are cases where a credence of 0 is required but where suspension is permitted. If this were so, belief, disbelief and suspension could not be identified or reduced to the aforementioned credences. I argue that Friedman relies on two (...)
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  5. Evidential Pluralism in the Social Sciences.Yafeng Shan & Jon Williamson - forthcoming - London: Routledge.
    This volume contends that Evidential Pluralism - an account of the epistemology of causation, which maintains that in order to establish a causal claim one needs to establish the existence of a correlation and the existence of a mechanism - can be fruitfully applied to the social sciences. Through case studies in sociology, economics, political science and law, it advances new philosophical foundations for causal enquiry in the social sciences. The book provides an account of how to establish and evaluate (...)
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  6. Is Evidential Support the Same as Increase-in-Probability?Tamaz Tokhadze - 2022 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 99 (2):135–158.
    Evidential support is often equated with confirmation, where evidence supports hypothesis H if and only if it increases the probability of H. This article argues against this received view. As the author shows, support is a comparative notion in the sense that increase-in-probability is not. A piece of evidence can confirm H, but it can confirm alternatives to H to the same or greater degree; and in such cases, it is at best misleading to conclude that the evidence supports H. (...)
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  7. Scientific Disagreements, Fast Science and Higher-Order Evidence.Daniel Friedman & Dunja Šešelja - 2022
    Scientific disagreements are an important catalyst for scientific progress. But what happens when scientists disagree amidst times of crisis, when we need quick yet reliable policy guidance? In this paper we aim to provide a normative account for how scientists facing disagreement in the context of ‘fast science’ should respond, and how policy makers should evaluate such disagreement. Starting from an argumentative, pragma-dialectic account of scientific controversies (Donato Rodríguez and Zamora Bonilla, 2013), we argue for the importance of ‘higher-order evidence (...)
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  8. Against the Phenomenal View of Evidence: Disagreement and Shared Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York: Routledge.
    On the phenomenal view of evidence, seemings are evidence. More precisely, if it seems to S that p, S has evidence for p. Here, I raise a worry for this view of evidence; namely, that it has the counterintuitive consequence that two people who disagree would rarely, if ever, share evidence. This is because almost all differences in beliefs would involve differences in seemings: if S believes p, it seems to S that p; if S believes not-p, it seems to (...)
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  9. The quantification of intelligence in nineteenth-century craniology: an epistemology of measurement perspective.Michele Luchetti - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4):1-29.
    Craniology – the practice of inferring intelligence differences from the measurement of human skulls – survived the dismissal of phrenology and remained a widely popular research program until the end of the nineteenth century. From the 1970s, historians and sociologists of science extensively focused on the explicit and implicit socio-cultural biases invalidating the evidence and claims that craniology produced. Building on this literature, I reassess the history of craniological practice from a different but complementary perspective that relies on recent developments (...)
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  10. Да вярваш рационално. Изследване върху обосноваността в традиционната епистемология.Anna M. Ivanova - 2020
    Книгата е посветена на проблема за обосноваността от класическата интерналистка гледна точка на епистемологията. Тя преразглежда традиционните проблеми в интерналистката рамка в по-широкия контекст на развитието в тази област през последните петдесет години.Централните проблеми в изследването се отнасят до условията на обосноваността като резултат от епистемичната оценка на вярванията с помощта на свидетелства и основания. Сред тях са проблемът за характера на свидетелствата и мястото им в процедурата на епистемична оценка, проблемите за добрите и достатъчни основания и проблемът за регреса (...)
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  11. Certainty.Miloud Belkoniene, and & Jacques-Henri Vollet - 2022 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Certainty The following article provides an overview of the philosophical debate surrounding certainty. It does so in light of distinctions that can be drawn between objective, psychological, and epistemic certainty. Certainty consists of a valuable cognitive standing, which is often seen as an ideal. It is indeed natural to evaluate lesser cognitive standings, in particular … Continue reading Certainty →.
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  12. Certitude.Miloud Belkoniene & Jacques Henri Vollet - 2021 - L'encyclopédie Philosophique.
  13. The rational dimension of understanding.Miloud Belkoniene - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-16.
    It is natural to regard understanding as having a rational dimension, in the sense that understanding seems to require having justification for holding certain beliefs about the world. Some philosophers however argue that justification is not required to gain understanding of phenomena. In the present paper, my intention is to provide a critical examination of the arguments that have been offered against the view that understanding requires justification in order to show that, contrary to what they purport to establish, justification (...)
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  14. ¿Metacognición en los animales? Los argumentos de Carruthers en contra de los test metacognitivos.Joan Sebastián Mejía-Rendón - 2017 - Versiones 2° 12 (2° época):62-76.
    This paper reconstructs Peter Carruthers’s arguments for criticizing the test focused on the metacognitive capacities of non-humans animals. It is possible to discuss metacognition or there are other mechanisms that being is used by animals in the metacognitive test? This paper offers an overview about the dispute about the metacognitive capacities(metaperception and metamemory) of the animals. The structure of this paper is the following: the first part presents the most relevant arguments that Carruthers offers to discuss and criticize the experiments (...)
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  15. EVIDENCE To Know and Have It All?Zaman Ali - 2022 - Lahore: Zaman Ali.
    The reality is; there is something which exist but what that something is; remains a question. Either because we are not capable to reveal it yet or because with time and movement it changes itself and has no truth in it. But what’s the reason for its existence without having or revealing any truth, that’s the evidence we need to find. -/- As with existence we desire to know how it begin and what was beyond it and how and why (...)
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  16. On the Independence of Belief and Credence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - Philosophical Issues 32 (1):9-31.
    Much of the literature on the relationship between belief and credence has focused on the reduction question: that is, whether either belief or credence reduces to the other. This debate, while important, only scratches the surface of the belief-credence connection. Even on the anti-reductive dualist view, belief and credence could still be very tightly connected. Here, I explore questions about the belief-credence connection that go beyond reduction. This paper is dedicated to what I call the independence question: just how independent (...)
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  17. Evidence, Knowledge, and Gas Gauges.Britton Watson - manuscript
    A brief discussion of Hawthorne's objection to evidence-first knowledge. I offer an argument towards evidence-first contextualism.
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  18. Conditionals all the way down.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    It is usually accepted that unconditional statements are clearer and less problematic than conditional ones. This article goes against this popular belief by advancing the contrarian hypothesis that all unconditional statements can be reduced to conditional ones due to the way our assumptions support our assertions. In fact, considering the coherentist process by which most of our different beliefs mutually support themselves, the only genuine example of unconditional statements are cases of self-justified beliefs, but these examples are controversial and few (...)
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  19. Theoretical virtues in eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition.Hein van den Berg - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-35.
    Within eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition we can distinguish at least three main theoretical positions: (i) Buffon’s mechanism, (ii) Reimarus’ theory of instincts, and (iii) the sensationalism of Condillac and Leroy. In this paper, I adopt a philosophical perspective on this debate and argue that in order to fully understand the justification Buffon, Reimarus, Condillac, and Leroy gave for their respective theories, we must pay special attention to the theoretical virtues these naturalists alluded to while justifying their position. These theoretical (...)
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  20. Recent work on the proof paradox.Lewis D. Ross - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (6):e12667.
    Recent years have seen fresh impetus brought to debates about the proper role of statistical evidence in the law. Recent work largely centres on a set of puzzles known as the ‘proof paradox’. While these puzzles may initially seem academic, they have important ramifications for the law: raising key conceptual questions about legal proof, and practical questions about DNA evidence. This article introduces the proof paradox, why we should care about it, and new work attempting to resolve it.
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  21. How Philosophy Bears on Covid-19.Thaddeus Metz - 2020 - South African Journal of Science 116 (7/8):1.
    A short reflection on respects in which philosophers are particularly, if not uniquely, well positioned to address certain ethical and epistemological controversies pertaining to the coronavirus.
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  22. Religious Convictions and Moral Motivation.Anndrei Zavaliy - 2020 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 25 (1):141-161.
    Adherence to certain religious beliefs is often cited as both an efficient deterrent to immoral behavior and as an effective trigger of morally praiseworthy actions. I assume the truth of the externalist theory of motivation, emphasizing emotions as the most important non-cognitive elements that causally contribute to behavioral choices. While religious convictions may foster an array of complex emotions in a believer, three emotive states are singled out for a closer analysis: fear, guilt and gratitude. The results of recent empirical (...)
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  23. Précis of The Unity of Perception.Susanna Schellenberg - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):715-720.
  24. Sceptical Theism and the Paradox of Evil.Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):319-333.
    Given plausible assumptions about the nature of evidence and undercutting defeat, many believe that the force of the evidential problem of evil depends on sceptical theism’s being false: if evil is...
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  25. Becoming a Christian: Combining Prior Belief, Evidence, and Will. [REVIEW]Lydia McGrew - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (2):599-603.
  26. Moral Emotions: Reclaiming the Evidence of the Heart. By Anthony J. Steinbock. Pp. xii, 341, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2014, $ 89.95/$34.95. [REVIEW]Antonio Calcagno - 2020 - Heythrop Journal 61 (2):355-356.
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  27. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions are Converse Relations.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    According to the so-called ‘standard theory’ of conditions, the conditionship relation is converse, that is, if A is a sufficient condition for B, B is a necessary condition for A. This theory faces well-known counterexamples that appeal to both causal and other asymmetric considerations. I show that these counterexamples lose their plausibility once we clarify two key components of the standard theory: that to satisfy a condition is to instantiate a property, and that what is usually called ‘conditionship relation’ is (...)
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  28. The Big Four - Their Interdependence and Limitations.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    Four intuitions are recurrent and influential in theories about conditionals: the Ramsey’s test, the Adams’ Thesis, the Equation, and the robustness requirement. For simplicity’s sake, I call these intuitions ‘the big four’. My aim is to show that: (1) the big four are interdependent; (2) they express our inferential dispositions to employ a conditional on a modus ponens; (3) the disposition to employ conditionals on a modus ponens doesn’t have the epistemic significance that is usually attributed to it, since the (...)
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  29. A Paradox of Evidential Equivalence.David Builes - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):113-127.
    Our evidence can be about different subject matters. In fact, necessarily equivalent pieces of evidence can be about different subject matters. Does the hyperintensionality of ‘aboutness’ engender any hyperintensionality at the level of rational credence? In this paper, I present a case which seems to suggest that the answer is ‘yes’. In particular, I argue that our intuitive notions of independent evidence and inadmissible evidence are sensitive to aboutness in a hyperintensional way. We are thus left with a paradox. While (...)
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  30. Being Rational and being Right.Juan Comesaña - 2020 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    In Being Rational and Being Right, Juan Comesaña argues for a cluster of theses related to the rationality of action and belief. His starting point is that rational action requires rational belief but tolerates false belief. From there, Comesaña provides a novel account of empirical evidence according to which said evidence consists of the content of undefeated experiences. This view, which Comesaña calls "Experientialism," differs from the two main views of empirical evidence on offer nowadays: Factualism, according to which our (...)
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  31. Induction and Hypothesis: A Study of the Logic of Confirmation.Stephen Francis Barker - 1957 - Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell University Press.
    Doubting that any version of induction could be satisfactory as the basic principle of nondemonstrative inference the author analyzes elaborately and rejects eliminative and enumerative induction in the search for a satisfactory criterion of confirmation. The basic difficulty is that induction fails to provide a means of confirming hypotheses about unobserved things. He inclines toward a method of hypothesis but rejects previous formulations in favor of one that involves systems of confirmable hypotheses that are competetively chosen as the simplest available.
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  32. Evolutionary Debunking, Self-Defeat and All the Evidence.Silvan Wittwer - 2020 - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
    Recently, Tomas Bogardus (2016), Andreas Mogensen (2017) and – at least on one plausible reconstruction – Sharon Street (2005) have argued that evolutionary theory debunks our moral beliefs by providing higher-order evidence of error. In response, moral realists such as Katia Vavova (2014) have objected that such evolutionary debunking arguments are self-defeating. The literature lacks any discussion of whether this self-defeat objection can be handled. My overall aim is to argue that it cannot, thus filling that lacuna – and vindicating (...)
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  33. Normative Reasons for Mentalism.Eva Schmidt - 2018 - In Christos Kyriacou & Robin McKenna (eds.), Metaepistemology: Realism and Anti-Realism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 97-120.
    The aim of this paper is to connect the traditional epistemological issue of justification with what one might call the “new reasons paradigm” coming from the philosophy of action and metaethics. More specifically, I will show that Conee and Feldman’s mentalism, a version of internalism about justification, can profitably be spelled out in terms of subjective normative reasons. On the way to achieving this aim, I will argue that it is important to ask not just the oft-discussed ontological question about (...)
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  34. ‘Data’ in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, 1665–1886.Chris Meyns - 2019 - Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science.
    Was there a concept of data before the so-called ‘data revolution’? This paper contributes to the history of the concept of data by investigating uses of the term ‘data’ in texts of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions for the period 1665–1886. It surveys how the notion enters the journal as a technical term in mathematics, and charts how over time it expands into various other scientific fields, including Earth sciences, physics and chemistry. The paper argues that in these texts the (...)
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  35. Objašnjenje, evidencija, teorija (Explanation, Evidence, Theory).Daniel Kostic & Dusko Prelevic - 2014 - Belgrade, Serbia: Treći program.
  36. Review of P. Copan and Craig, W. (eds.) The Kalām Cosmological Argument Volume Two: Scientific Evidence for the Beginning of the Universe. [REVIEW]Graham Oppy - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):225-229.
    This is a commissioned review of Copan, P. and Craig, W. The Kalām Cosmological Argument Volume Two: Scientific Evidence for the Beginning of the Universe New York: Bloomsbury, US$172.50, ISBN 978-1-50-133587-7.
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  37. Knowing Our Limits.Nathan Ballantyne - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Changing our minds isn't easy. Even when we recognize our views are disputed by intelligent and informed people, we rarely doubt our rightness. Why is this so? How can we become more open-minded, putting ourselves in a better position to tolerate conflict, advance collective inquiry, and learn from differing perspectives in a complex world? -/- Nathan Ballantyne defends the indispensable role of epistemology in tackling these issues. For early modern philosophers, the point of reflecting on inquiry was to understand how (...)
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  38. Virtuous Faith.Travis M. Dickinson - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):119-134.
    The notion of faith has been variously understood throughout the course of Christian intellectual history. It has been common to construe faith in epistemological terms, especially by critics of religious faith. In this paper, I argue that faith, especially faith that is had in the context of relationships, should be understood as an act of ventured trust. This is not to say that beliefs and the evidence for the truth of those beliefs are unimportant. Indeed, I argue that acting on (...)
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  39. On a No Defeat Evidence Principle of Tal and Comesaña.Randall G. Mccutcheon - 2019 - Episteme 16 (3):237-240.
    We offer a critical evaluation of a recent proposal of E. Tal and J. Comesa\~na on the topic of when evidence of evidence constitutes evidence. After establishing that attempts of L. Moretti and W. Roche to discredit the proposal miss their mark, we fashion another, which does not.
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  40. Review of The Paradoxical Rationality of Søren Kierkegaard. [REVIEW]Antony Aumann - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014.
    Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) has often been cast as an irrationalist -- an enemy of reason, logic, and perhaps even truth. It is easy to see why. Some of his works encourage us to "crucify" our understanding or to take a leap of faith beyond the evidence.[1] We also encounter texts suggesting that passionate beliefs are more important than true ones.[2] Perhaps his most frequently read book, Fear and Trembling, lauds Abraham for following God's commands "by virtue of the absurd."[3] Finally, (...)
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  41. Belief and Credence: Why the Attitude-Type Matters.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2477-2496.
    In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that each debate is constrained in particular ways, depending on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that epistemologists should pay attention (...)
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  42. Normalcy, Understanding and the Problem of Statistical Evidence.Miloud Belkoniene - 2019 - Theoria 85 (3):202-218.
    This article examines Smith’s recent treatment of the problem of statistical evidence and the conception of epistemic justification that he puts forward. Two possible solutions to the problem of statistical evidence that result from his analysis of cases involving a contrast between statistical and individual evidence are considered. The solution resulting from Smith’s conception of epistemic justification is shown to be inferior to the solution calling for an explanationist conception of epistemic justification. As a result, Smith’s analysis of cases illustrating (...)
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  43. Das Petrusbild nach außerkanonischen Zeugnissen.Michael Mees - 1975 - Zeitschrift für Religions- Und Geistesgeschichte 27 (3):193-205.
  44. Why Explanatory Considerations Matter.Miloud Belkoniene - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (2):473-491.
    This paper aims at elucidating the connection between explanatory considerations and epistemic justification stipulated by explanationism which take epistemic justification to be definable in terms of best explanations. By relying on the notion of truthlikeness, this paper argues that it is rational for a subject to expect the best explanation she has for her evidence to be more truthlike than any of the other potential explanations available to her by virtue of containing a class of propositions that, given her evidence, (...)
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  45. On formal aspects of the epistemic approach to paraconsistency.Walter Carnielli, Marcelo E. Coniglio & Abilio Rodrigues - 2018 - In Max Freund, Max Fernandez de Castro & Marco Ruffino (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Logic: Recent Trends in Latin America and Spain. London: College Publications. pp. 48-74.
    This paper reviews the central points and presents some recent developments of the epistemic approach to paraconsistency in terms of the preservation of evidence. Two formal systems are surveyed, the basic logic of evidence (BLE) and the logic of evidence and truth (LET J ), designed to deal, respectively, with evidence and with evidence and truth. While BLE is equivalent to Nelson’s logic N4, it has been conceived for a different purpose. Adequate valuation semantics that provide decidability are given for (...)
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  46. The epistemic superiority of experiment to simulation.Sherrilyn Roush - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4883-4906.
    This paper defends the naïve thesis that the method of experiment has per se an epistemic superiority over the method of computer simulation, a view that has been rejected by some philosophers writing about simulation, and whose grounds have been hard to pin down by its defenders. I further argue that this superiority does not come from the experiment’s object being materially similar to the target in the world that the investigator is trying to learn about, as both sides of (...)
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  47. Bayesian Norms and Non-Ideal Agents.Julia Staffel - forthcoming - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton M. Littlejohn (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy Evidence. Routledge.
    Bayesian epistemology provides a popular and powerful framework for modeling rational norms on credences, including how rational agents should respond to evidence. The framework is built on the assumption that ideally rational agents have credences, or degrees of belief, that are representable by numbers that obey the axioms of probability. From there, further constraints are proposed regarding which credence assignments are rationally permissible, and how rational agents’ credences should change upon learning new evidence. While the details are hotly disputed, all (...)
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  48. Evidential Reasoning.Marcello Di Bello & Bart Verheij - 2018 - In G. Bongiovanni, G. Postema, A. Rotolo, G. Sartor, C. Valentini & D. Walton (eds.), Handbook in Legal Reasoning and Argumentation. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 447-493.
    The primary aim of this chapter is to explain the nature of evidential reasoning, the characteristic difficulties encountered, and the tools to address these difficulties. Our focus is on evidential reasoning in criminal cases. There is an extensive scholarly literature on these topics, and it is a secondary aim of the chapter to provide readers the means to find their way in historical and ongoing debates.
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  49. Reasons, Evidence, and Explanations.John Brunero - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 321-341.
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  50. Can Experience Fulfill the Many Roles of Evidence?Logan Paul Gage - 2018 - Quaestiones Disputatae 8 (2):87-111.
    It is still a live question in epistemology and philosophy of science as to what exactly evidence is. In my view, evidence consists in experiences called “seemings.” This view is a version of the phenomenal conception of evidence, the position that evidence consists in nonfactive mental states with propositional content. This conception is opposed by sense-data theorists, disjunctivists, and those who think evidence consists in physical objects or publicly observable states of affairs—call it the courtroom conception of evidence. Thomas Kelly (...)
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