Bayesian confirmation and auxiliary hypotheses revisited: A reply to Strevens

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):293-302 (2005)
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has proposed an interesting and novel Bayesian analysis of the Quine-Duhem (Q–D) problem (i.e., the problem of auxiliary hypotheses). Strevens's analysis involves the use of a simplifying idealization concerning the original Q–D problem. We will show that this idealization is far stronger than it might appear. Indeed, we argue that Strevens's idealization oversimplifies the Q–D problem, and we propose a diagnosis of the source(s) of the oversimplification. Some background on Quine–Duhem Strevens's simplifying idealization Indications that (I) oversimplifies Q–D Strevens's argument for the legitimacy of (I).



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Branden Fitelson
Northeastern University