Explanatory Rivals and the Ultimate Argument

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Title: Explanatory Rivals and the Ultimate Argument
Authors: Dellsén, Finnur
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/8175
Date: Sep-2016
Abstract: Although many aspects of Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) have been extensively discussed, very little has so far been said about what it takes for a hypothesis to count as a rival explanatory hypothesis in the context of IBE. The primary aim of this article is to rectify this situation by arguing for a specific account of explanatory rivalry. On this account, explanatory rivals are (roughly speaking) complete explanations of a given explanandum. When explanatory rivals are conceived of in this way, I argue that IBE is a more plausible and defensible rule of inference than it would otherwise be. The secondary aim of the article is to demonstrate the importance of accounts of explanatory rivalry by examining a prominent philosophical argument in which IBE is employed, viz. the so-called Ultimate Argument for scientific realism. In short, I argue that a well-known objection to the Ultimate Argument due to Arthur Fine fails in virtue of tacitly assuming an account of explanatory rivalry that we have independent reasons to reject.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright (published version): 2015 Stiftelsen Theoria
Keywords: Inference to the Best Explanation;Scientific realism;Explanatory rivals
DOI: 10.1111/theo.12084
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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