The corroboration paradox

Synthese 190 (8):1455-1469 (2013)

Abstract

Evidentiary propositions E 1 and E 2, each p-positively relevant to some hypothesis H, are mutually corroborating if p > p, i = 1, 2. Failures of such mutual corroboration are instances of what may be called the corroboration paradox. This paper assesses two rather different analyses of the corroboration paradox due, respectively, to John Pollock and Jonathan Cohen. Pollock invokes a particular embodiment of the principle of insufficient reason to argue that instances of the corroboration paradox are of negligible probability, and that it is therefore defeasibly reasonable to assume that items of evidence positively relevant to some hypothesis are mutually corroborating. Taking a different approach, Cohen seeks to identify supplementary conditions that are sufficient to ensure that such items of evidence will be mutually corroborating, and claims to have identified conditions which account for most cases of mutual corroboration. Combining a proposed common framework for the general study of paradoxes of positive relevance with a simulation experiment, we conclude that neither Pollock’s nor Cohen’s claims stand up to detailed scrutiny. I am quite prepared to be told…”oh, that is an extreme case: it could never really happen!” Now I have observed that this answer is always given instantly, with perfect confidence, and without any examination of the proposed case. It must therefore rest on some general principle: the mental process being something like this—“I have formed a theory. This case contradicts my theory. Therefore, this is an extreme case, and would never occur in practice.”Rev. Charles L. Dodgson

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,722

External links

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

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-04-20

Downloads
113 (#106,420)

6 months
1 (#387,390)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

The Probable and the Provable.Laurence Jonathan Cohen - 1977 - Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press.
A Mathematical Theory of Evidence.Glenn Shafer - 1976 - Princeton University Press.
Nomic Probability and the Foundations of Induction.John L. Pollock - 1990 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Bayesianism Versus Baconianism in the Evaluation of Medical Diagnoses.L. Jonathan Cohen - 1980 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 31 (1):45-62.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Similar books and articles

Corroboration and Conditional Positive Relevance.Carl G. Wagner - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 61 (3):295 - 300.
The Big Test of Corroboration.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):293 – 302.
Intersubjective Corroboration.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):124-132.
Popper’s Measure of Corroboration and P.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axs029.
New Aspects of the Probabilistic Evaluation of Hypotheses and Experience.Rainer Gottlob - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (2):147 – 163.
To Save Verisimilitude.Joseph Agassi - 1981 - Mind 90 (360):576-579.
Significance Tests and Deduction: Reply to Folger (1989).Siu L. Chow - 1989 - Psychological Bulletin 106 (1):161-165.
No Train Paradox.Jon Pérez Laraudogoitia - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (1):217-220.
Probabilistic Causality and Simpson's Paradox.Richard Otte - 1985 - Philosophy of Science 52 (1):110-125.