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Bayesian Philosophy of Science$
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Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672110

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199672110.001.0001

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Explanatory Power

Explanatory Power

Chapter:
(p.185) Variation 7: Explanatory Power
Source:
Bayesian Philosophy of Science
Author(s):

Jan Sprenger

Stephan Hartmann

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199672110.003.0007

This chapter motivates why, and under which circumstances, the explanatory power of a scientific hypothesis with respect to a body of evidence can be explicated by means of statistical relevance. This account is traced back to its historic roots in Peirce and Hempel and defended against its critics (e.g., contrasting statistical relevance to purely causal accounts of explanation). Then we derive various Bayesian explications of explanatory power using the method of representation theorems and we compare their properties from a normative point of view. Finally we evaluate how such measures of explanatory power can ground a theory of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE).

Keywords:   Explanatory power, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE), abduction, probability, confirmation theory, C.S. Peirce, statistical explanation, causal explanation, explanatory reasoning

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