Philosophy of Science 35 (2):116-133 (1968)

Abstract
The article is a reappraisal of the requirement of maximal specificity (RMS) proposed by the author as a means of avoiding "ambiguity" in probabilistic explanation. The author argues that RMS is not, as he had held in one earlier publication, a rough substitute for the requirement of total evidence, but is independent of it and has quite a different rationale. A group of recent objections to RMS is answered by stressing that the statistical generalizations invoked in probabilistic explanations must be lawlike, and by arguing that predicates fit for occurrence in lawlike statistical probability statements must meet two conditions, at least one of which is violated in each of the counterexamples adduced in the objections. These considerations suggest the conception that probabilistic-statistical laws concern the long-run frequency of some characteristic within a reference class as characterized by some particular "description" or predicate expression, and that replacement of such a description by a coextensive one may turn a statement that is lawlike into another that is not. Finally, to repair a defect noted by Grandy, the author's earlier formulation of RMS is replaced by a modified version
Keywords Explanation   Philosophy of Science   Probability
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/288197
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Philosophy 31 (118):268-269.
The Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (13):362-364.
Statistical Ambiguity and Maximal Specificity.W. C. Humphreys - 1968 - Philosophy of Science 35 (2):112-115.
Hempel's Criterion of Maximal Specificity.Gerald J. Massey - 1968 - Philosophical Studies 19 (3):43 - 47.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Laws of Nature.Fred I. Dretske - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (2):248-268.

View all 47 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Statistical Explanation and Ergodic Theory.Lawrence Sklar - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (2):194-212.
Probabilistic Explanations.James H. Fetzer - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:194-207.
Scientific Explanation: A Critical Survey.Gerhard Schurz - 1995 - Foundations of Science 1 (3):429-465.
Contrastive, Non-Probabilistic Statistical Explanations.Bruce Glymour - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (3):448-471.
Do Large Probabilities Explain Better?Michael Strevens - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):366-390.
Statistical Explanations.James H. Fetzer - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:337 - 347.
The Covering Law Model of Historical Explanation.Stanley Paluch - 1968 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 11 (1-4):368 – 387.
Probabilistic Explanation and Probabilistic Causality.Joseph F. Hanna - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:181 - 193.
Aleatory Explanations Expanded.Paul Humphreys - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:208 - 223.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
150 ( #78,039 of 2,507,561 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,983 of 2,507,561 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes