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How Explanation Guides Confirmation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Where E is the proposition that [If H and O were true, H would explain O], William Roche and Elliot Sober have argued that P(H | O&E) = P(H | O). In this article I argue that not only is this equality not generally true, it is false in the very kinds of cases that Roche and Sober focus on, involving frequency data. In fact, in such cases O raises the probability of H only given that there is an explanatory connection between them.

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Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I am grateful to Robert Audi, Daniel Immerman, Ted Poston, and two reviewers for Philosophy of Science for very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

References

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Roche, William, and Sober, Elliot. 2013. “Explanatoriness Is Evidentially Irrelevant; or, Inference to the Best Explanation Meets Bayesian Confirmation Theory.” Analysis 73:659–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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