Hypothesis Competition beyond Mutual Exclusivity

Jonah N. Schupbach, David H. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


Competition between scientific hypotheses is not always a matter of mutual exclusivity. Consistent hypotheses can compete to varying degrees either directly or indirectly via a body of evidence. We motivate and defend a particular account of hypothesis competition by showing how it captures these features. Computer simulations of Bayesian inference are used to highlight the limitations of adopting mutual exclusivity as a simplifying assumption to model scientific reasoning, particularly due to the exclusion of hypotheses that may be true. We end with a case study demonstrating the subtleties involved in hypothesis competition in scientific practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-824
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2017


  • Competition
  • Bayesian inference
  • scientific reasoning
  • computer simulations


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