Bayesian confirmation theory: Inductive logic, or mere inductive framework?

Synthese 141 (3):365 - 379 (2004)


Does the Bayesian theory of confirmation put real constraints on our inductive behavior? Or is it just a framework for systematizing whatever kind of inductive behavior we prefer? Colin Howson (Hume's Problem) has recently championed the second view. I argue that he is wrong, in that the Bayesian apparatus as it is usually deployed does constrain our judgments of inductive import, but also that he is right, in that the source of Bayesianism's inductive prescriptions is not the Bayesian machinery itself, but rather what David Lewis calls the ``Principal Principle''.

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Michael Strevens
New York University