Chapter

Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) and the Causal and Scientific Reasoning of Nonscientists

Barbara Koslowski

in Psychology of Science

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753628
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950027 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753628.003.0006
Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) and the Causal and Scientific Reasoning of Nonscientists

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Several researchers have drawn attention to the distinction between idealized models of science and descriptions of actual scientific practice (or inference to the best explanation). Several notions are prominent in descriptions of scientific practice including the importance of explanation, the interdependence of explanation (or theory) and background information, the role of possible alternative explanations, the importance of the network of related beliefs in which an explanation is embedded, and judgments that are more or less plausible rather than certain. Several studies described in the chapter suggest that these considerations are also important in the causal reasoning of nonscientists.

Keywords: idealized models; actual scientific practice; best explanation; background knowledge; alternative explanations; network of beliefs; judgments; causal reasoning

Chapter.  12490 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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