Argument from Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE)
We often form our beliefs against the background of a set of alternatives all of which lay some claim to explaining the phenomena we are confronted with. We tend to believe those hypotheses that are, in certain respects, superior to the other members of the set. While this seems to be a rather fair description of the mechanism of belief formation in areas such as commonsense, science, and philosophy, it is also the source of a great many puzzles. The main question that it raises concerns the nature of the inferential mechanism that is thought to underlie these cases of belief formation. Recent tradition has identified this mode of inference as “abduction” or “inference to the best explanation” (IBE). The idea being that when faced with a set of competing hypotheses all covering the data (evidence), the hypothesis that best explains it is the one more likely to be true.
KeywordsCoherence Posit Defend Abate Alan
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.