Coherence, Explanation, and Hypothesis Selection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper provides a new approach to inference to the best explanation (IBE) based on a new coherence measure for comparing how well hypotheses explain the evidence. It addresses a number of criticisms of the use of probabilistic measures in this context by Clark Glymour ([2015]), including limitations of earlier work on IBE (Glass [2012]). Computer experiments are used to show that the new approach finds the truth with a high degree of accuracy in hypothesis selection tasks and that in some cases its accuracy is greater than hypothesis selection based on maximizing posterior probability. Hence, by overcoming some of the problems with the previous approach, this work provides a more adequate defence of IBE and suggests that IBE not only tracks truth but also has practical advantages over the previous approach. Applications of the new approach to parameter estimation and model selection are also explored.
LanguageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Early online date28 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2018

Fingerprint

Inference
Computer experiments
Model selection
Parameter estimation
Criticism
Posterior probability

Keywords

  • coherence
  • explanatory power
  • inference to the best explanation
  • Bayesian inference
  • computer simulation
  • model selection

Cite this

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title = "Coherence, Explanation, and Hypothesis Selection",
abstract = "This paper provides a new approach to inference to the best explanation (IBE) based on a new coherence measure for comparing how well hypotheses explain the evidence. It addresses a number of criticisms of the use of probabilistic measures in this context by Clark Glymour ([2015]), including limitations of earlier work on IBE (Glass [2012]). Computer experiments are used to show that the new approach finds the truth with a high degree of accuracy in hypothesis selection tasks and that in some cases its accuracy is greater than hypothesis selection based on maximizing posterior probability. Hence, by overcoming some of the problems with the previous approach, this work provides a more adequate defence of IBE and suggests that IBE not only tracks truth but also has practical advantages over the previous approach. Applications of the new approach to parameter estimation and model selection are also explored.",
keywords = "coherence, explanatory power, inference to the best explanation, Bayesian inference, computer simulation, model selection",
author = "Glass, {David H.}",
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journal = "British Journal for the Philosophy of Science",
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Coherence, Explanation, and Hypothesis Selection. / Glass, David H.

In: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28.08.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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