Inference to the Best Explanation

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Psychology Press, 2004 - Philosophy - 219 pages
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How do we go about weighing evidence, testing hypotheses, and making inferences? According to the model of Inference to the Best Explanation, we work out what to infer from the evidence by thinking about what would actually explain that evidence, and we take the ability of a hypothesis to explain the evidence as a sign that the hypothesis is correct. In Inference to the Best Explanation, Peter Lipton gives this important and influential idea the development and assessment it deserves.

The second edition has been substantially enlarged and reworked, with a new chapter on the relationship between explanation and Bayesianism, and an extension and defence of the account of contrastive explanation. It also includes an expanded defence of the claims that our inferences really are guided by diverse explanatory considerations, and that this pattern of inference can take us towards the truth. This edition of Inference to the Best Explanation has also been updated throughout and includes a new bibliography.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Induction
5
Justification
7
Description
11
Explanation
21
Reason familiarity deduction unification necessity
23
The causal model
30
Failed reductions and false differences
37
Explanation as a guide to inference
121
Improved coverage
126
Explanatory obsessions
128
From cause to explanation
132
Loveliness and truth Voltaires objection
142
The twostage process
148
Is the best good enough?
151
Prediction and prejudice
164

Causal triangulation
41
Inference to the Best Explanation
55
Attractions and repulsions
64
Contrastive inference
71
Explanation and deduction
82
The raven paradox
91
The Method of Agreement
99
Bayesian abduction
103
The Bayesian and the explanationist should be friends
107
Contrastive inference revisited
117
The fudging explanation
168
Actual and assessed support
177
Truth and explanation
184
A bad explanation
192
The scientific evidence
198
Conclusion
207
Bibliography
211
Index
217
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Peter Lipton is Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

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