Journal Article

Predictivism for Pluralists

Eric Christian Barnes

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 56, issue 3, pages 421-450
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online August 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Predictivism for Pluralists

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Predictivism asserts that novel confirmations carry special probative weight. Epistemic pluralism asserts that the judgments of agents (about, e.g., the probabilities of theories) carry epistemic import. In this paper, I propose a new theory of predictivism that is tailored to pluralistic evaluators of theories. I replace the orthodox notion of use-novelty with a notion of endorsement-novelty, and argue that the intuition that predictivism is true has two roots. I provide a detailed Bayesian rendering of this theory and argue that pluralistic theory evaluation pervades scientific practice. I compare my account of predictivism with those of Maher and Worrall.


Why construction is a red herring for pluralist evaluators

The unvirtuous accommodator

Virtuous endorsers and the two roots of predictivism

The two roots in Bayesian terms: the priors and background beliefs of endorsers

Who are the pluralist evaluators?

Two contemporary theories of predictivism

7.1 Maher: Reliable methods of theory construction

7.2 Worrall: The confirmation of core ideas


Journal Article.  13541 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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