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On Coherent Sets and the Transmission of Confirmation*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

In this paper, we identify a new and mathematically well-defined sense in which the coherence of a set of hypotheses can be truth-conducive. Our focus is not, as usual, on the probability, but rather on the confirmation of a coherent set and its members. We show that if evidence confirms a hypothesis, confirmation is ‘transmitted’ to any hypotheses that are sufficiently coherent with the former hypothesis, according to some appropriate probabilistic coherence measure such as Olsson's or Fitelson's measure. Our findings have implications for scientific methodology, as they provide a formal rationale for the method of indirect confirmation and the method of confirming theories by confirming their parts.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

For helpful comments, we wish to thank Claus Beisbart, Ludwig Fahrbach, Branden Fitelson, Stephan Hartmann, Franz Huber, Erik Olsson, Tomoji Shogenji, and the referees of this journal. For supporting this research, we are also grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Program for the Investment in the Future (ZIP) of the German Government.

References

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