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The Logic of Theory Assessment

Huber, Franz (2007) The Logic of Theory Assessment. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 36 (5). pp. 511-538.

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Abstract

This paper starts by indicating the analysis of Hempel's conditions of adequacy for any relation of confirmation (Hempel 1945) as presented in Huber (submitted). There I argue contra Carnap (1962, §87) that Hempel felt the need for two concepts of confirmation: one aiming at plausible theories and another aiming at informative theories. However, he also realized that these two concepts are conflicting, and he gave up the concept of confirmation aiming at informative theories.

The main part of the paper consists in working out the claim that one can have Hempel's cake and eat it too -- in the sense that there is a logic of theory assessment that takes into account both of the two conflicting aspects of plausibility and informativeness. According to the semantics of this logic, T is an acceptable theory for evidence E if and only if T is both sufficiently plausible given E and sufficiently informative about E. This is spelt out in terms of ranking functions (Spohn 1988) and shown to represent the syntactically specified notion of an assessment relation.

The paper then compares these acceptability relations to explanatory and confirmatory consequence relations (Flach 2000) as well as to nonmonotonic consequence relations (Kraus & Lehmann & Magidor 1990). It concludes by relating the plausibility-informativeness approach to Carnap's positive relevance account, thereby shedding new light on Carnap's analysis as well as solving another problem of confirmation theory.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Huber, Franzfranz.huber@utoronto.ca
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email franz.huber@utoronto.ca
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2014 14:41
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 14:41
Item ID: 10849
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Philosophical Logic
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10992-...
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Decision Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2007
Page Range: pp. 511-538
Volume: 36
Number: 5
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10849

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