Inference to the best explanation: does it track truth?

Synthese 185 (3):411-427 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In the form of inference known as inference to the best explanation there are various ways to characterise what is meant by the best explanation. This paper considers a number of such characterisations including several based on confirmation measures and several based on coherence measures. The goal is to find a measure which adequately captures what is meant by 'best' and which also yields the truth with a high degree of probability. Computer simulations are used to show that the overlap coherence measure achieves this goal, enabling the true explanation to be identified almost as often as an approach which simply selects the most probable explanation. Further advantages to this approach are also considered in the case where there is uncertainty in the prior probability distribution

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,429

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Truth Approximation Via Abductive Belief Change.Gustavo Cevolani - 2013 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 21 (6):999-1016.
The Functions of Fossils: Inference and Explanation in Functional Morphology.Derek Turner - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):193-212.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Explanation and Epistemology.William G. Lycan - 2002 - In Paul K. Moser (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 413.
Induction and Inference to the Best Explanation.Ruth Weintraub - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):203-216.
Review Symposium.Ken Binmore - 1985 - Thesis Eleven 12 (1):145-155.
Reference, Inference and the Semantics of Pejoratives.Timothy Williamson - 2009 - In Joseph Almog & Paolo Leonardi (eds.), The Philosophy of David Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 137--159.
What is an Inference Rule?Ronald Fagin, Joseph Y. Halpern & Moshe Y. Vardi - 1992 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 57 (3):1018-1045.

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-05-03

Downloads
233 (#51,507)

6 months
1 (#417,143)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David H. Glass
University of Ulster

Citations of this work

The Ecological Rationality of Explanatory Reasoning.Igor Douven - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 79:1-14.
Probability and the Explanatory Virtues: Figure 1.Clark Glymour - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):591-604.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Bayesian Epistemology.Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2003 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 182 (3):327-329.

View all 20 references / Add more references