Inference to the best explanation made incoherent

Journal article


Climenhaga, Nevin. (2017). Inference to the best explanation made incoherent. Journal of Philosophy. 114(5), pp. 251 - 273. https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2017114519
AuthorsClimenhaga, Nevin
Abstract

Defenders of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) claim that explanatory factors should play an important role in empirical inference. They disagree, however, about how exactly to formulate this role. In particular, they disagree about whether to formulate IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs or for degrees of belief, as well as how a rule for degrees of belief should relate to Bayesianism. In this essay I advance a new argument against non-Bayesian versions of IBE. My argument focuses on cases in which we are concerned with multiple levels of explanation of some phenomenon. I show that in many such cases, following IBE as an inference rule for full beliefs leads to deductively inconsistent beliefs, and following IBE as a non-Bayesian updating rule for degrees of belief leads to (synchronically) probabilistically incoherent degrees of belief.

Year2017
JournalJournal of Philosophy
Journal citation114 (5), pp. 251 - 273
PublisherJournal of Philosophy, Inc.
ISSN1939-8549
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil2017114519
Page range251 - 273
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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