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Rescher’s Theory of Plausible Reasoning

  • L. Jonathan Cohen
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 15)

Abstract

One of the most useful tasks that philosophers can perform is to shake intellectual prejudices, and one of the strongest and most deep-rooted prejudices in contemporary intellectual culture is obsessive Pascalianism — the assumption that every rational judgement made in the absence of complete information must conform in one way or another to the classical calculus of probability. But it is never sufficient, either in philosophy or in science, to argue that certain problems resist satisfactory solution by the accepted theory. An alternative theory must also be proposed that will generate the desired solutions. Nick Rescher has therefore done well to produce not only some considerations that count against a probabilistic or Pascalian treatment of certain issues but also an alternative treatment of these issues, which he calls a theory of “plausible” reasoning. The credit due to him for having produced one such non-Pascalian theory will remain, even if, as I shall argue, its range of legitimate application is somewhat less extensive than Rescher claims on its behalf.

Keywords

Plausible Reasoning Epistemic Modality Rational Judgement Natural Uniformity Inductive Reliability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    L. Jonathan Cohen, ‘How Can One Testimony Corroborate Another?’, in R. S. Cohenet al.. (eds.),Essays in Memory oflmre Lakatos., 1976, p. 65 ff., andThe Probable and the Provable, 1911, p.. 101 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. L. Jonathan Cohen, ‘How Can One Testimony Corroborate Another?’, in R. S. Cohenet al.. (eds.),Essays in Memory oflmre Lakatos., 1976, p. 65 ff., andThe Probable and the Provable, 1911, p.. 101 ff.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Cf. L. Jonathan Cohen,The Probable and the Provable., pp. 157 ff. and 277 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Jonathan Cohen

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