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Inference to the Best Explanation and Norton’s Material Theory of Induction.

Davey, Kevin (2020) Inference to the Best Explanation and Norton’s Material Theory of Induction. [Preprint]

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Abstract

I argue that we should consider Norton’s material theory of induction as consisting of two largely independent claims. First, there is the claim that material facts license inductions - a claim which I interpret as a type of contextualism about induction. Second, there is the claim that there are no universal rules of induction. While a good case can be made for the first claim, I believe that Norton’s arguments for the second claim are lacking. In particular, I spell out Norton’s argument against the claim that all induction may be reduced to inference to the best explanation, and argue that it is not persuasive. Rejecting this part of Norton’s theory does not however require us to abandon the first claim that material facts license inductions. In this way, I distinguish the parts of the material theory of induction we should happily accept from the parts about which we should be more skeptical.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Davey, Kevin
Keywords: induction, Norton, inference to the best explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Depositing User: Kevin Davey
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2020 13:33
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2020 13:33
Item ID: 18174
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18174

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