final review phil 12

final review phil 12 - Final Student questions Question:...

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Final Student questions
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Question: Can we review IBE arguments and how to evaluate them?
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A new kind of argument Inference to the best explanation is also sometimes called abduction It purports to provide probable support for its conclusion. Inference to the best explanation (IBE) arguments, because they are concerned with theoretical explanations, are perhaps the most central argument form to scientific reasoning. They also occur commonly in everyday reasoning.
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Theoretical explanations Offer a theory or hypothesis to explain why something is true, why something happened they way it did, why something exists, etc. Inference to the best explanation arguments draw conclusions about what is the best explanation for the way the world is. They have observations about the world as premises.
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Examples Observations Theory the motion of the planets  across the sky heliocentric  theory of the  solar system  the streets and lawns are  wet it rained last  night  JFKs assassination lone gunman  theory  the Doppler effects we see  in the rotation of galaxies.   dark matter 
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Evaluating IBE arguments Internal consistency - a theory is internally consistent if no part of it contradicts any other part of it External consistency - a theory is externally consistent if no part of it contradicts the known facts, or observations, that it is supposed to explain.
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Evaluating IBE arguments Testability - an explanation or theory is testable when there is some way of determining whether is true or false. An untestable theory is a bad theory because it does not really explain anything. A theory is testable if it makes predictions that go beyond the observations that it is introduced to explain.
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Evaluating IBE arguments Fruitfulness - Theories or explanations that offer novel predictions or insights, that open up new fields of inquiry and discovery are fruitful This is counts in favor of a theory because predicting something surprising rather than something expected is stronger evidence that the theory is getting at an underlying truth.
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Evaluating IBE arguments Scope - The more phenomena a theory or explanation can account for, the broader its scope If a theory has a broader scope, can explain more, it has more evidence in favor of it Theories with broader scope are more likely to be true.
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Evaluating IBE arguments Simplicity - A theory of explanation is simpler if it makes fewer assumptions, or if it depends on less in order for it to turn out to be true. Sometimes this value is put in terms of not positing the existence of extra things without need. The more that is built in to a theory, the more opportunities there are for it to be wrong.
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Conservatism - a theory is more conservative if it overturns less of what we already accept or know to be the case; if it conserves more of our knowledge. Theories that overturn a lot of already
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This note was uploaded on 07/28/2010 for the course PHIL Phil 12 taught by Professor Amndabrovold during the Spring '10 term at San Diego.

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final review phil 12 - Final Student questions Question:...

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