Best Explanations: New Essays on Inference to the Best Explanation

Front Cover
Kevin McCain, Ted Poston
Oxford University Press, Dec 1, 2017 - Science - 288 pages
Explanatory reasoning is ubiquitous. Not only are rigorous inferences to the best explanation used pervasively in the sciences, this kind of reasoning is common in everyday life. Despite its widespread use, inference to the best explanation is still in need of precise formulation, and it remains controversial. On the one hand, supporters of explanationism take inference to the best explanation to be a justifying form of inference; some even take all justification to be a matter of explanatory reasoning. On the other hand, critics object that inference to the best explanation is not a fundamental form of inference, and some argue that we should be skeptical of inference to the best explanation in general. This volume brings together twenty philosophers to explore various aspects of inference to the best explanation and the debates surrounding it. These specially commissioned essays constitute the cutting edge of research on the role explanatory considerations play in epistemology and philosophy of science.
 

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Contents

Best Explanations An Introduction
1
Inference to the Best Explanation
5
The Fundamentality of Inference to the Best Explanation
63
Justifying Inference to the Best Explanation
131
Inference to the Best Explanation and Skepticism
171
Applications of Inference to the Best Explanation
217
Index
295
Index of Names
300
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About the author (2017)

Kevin McCain is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research focuses on issues in epistemology and philosophy of science-particularly where these areas intersect. In addition to numerous journal articles, he has written two books: Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification (Routledge, 2014) and The Nature of Scientific Knowledge: An Explanatory Approach (Springer, 2016). Ted Poston is Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Alabama. He has written many articles in epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. His first book Reason and Explanation (Palgrave-Macmillan) offers a contemporary defense of explanatory coherentism. His second book, written with Adam Carter, A Critical Introduction to Knowledge-How (Bloomsbury) presents a sustained argument that knowledge-how is a unique grasp of non-propositional reality.

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