Journal Article

On the Predilections for Predictions

David Harker

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 59, issue 3, pages 429-453
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axn017
On the Predilections for Predictions

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Scientific theories are developed in response to a certain set of phenomena and subsequently evaluated, at least partially, in terms of the quality of fit between those same theories and appropriately distinctive phenomena. To differentiate between these two stages it is popular to describe the former as involving the accommodation of data and the latter as involving the prediction of data. Predictivism is the view that, ceteris paribus, correctly predicting data confers greater confirmation than successfully accommodating data. In this paper, I take issue with a variety of predictivist theses, argue that their role for issues of confirmation is extremely limited, and attempt to account for the appeal that predictivism has enjoyed.

Introduction

Temporal Predictivism

Heuristic Predictivism

Weak Predictivism 4.1

Inference to better theories

4.2

Inference to better methods

Arguments for Strong Heuristic Predictivism 5.1

Best explanations argument

5.2

Conditional support

5.3

Unique explanations

Increased Explanatory Unification 6.1

Explaining what other theories can't

6.2

Contrived hypotheses

6.2

Strength and simplicity

Conclusions

Journal Article.  10878 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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