Michael Strevens: Causal Difference-Making and Inference to the Best Explanation
November 14 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Explainers are difference-makers, and scientific explainers are (for the most part) causal difference-makers—so many of us believe. If there is such a thing as scientific inference to the best explanation, then, it is more often than not inference from phenomena to the causal difference-makers that explain them. That sounds sensible, as Peter Lipton remarked 25 years ago. I will refresh this venerable line of thought by investigating ways in which more recent work on the difference-making approach to causal explanation illuminates characteristic features of scientific confirmation, above all the fact, emphasized by Clark Glymour, that phenomena are typically considered to confirm some but not all elements of the theories that predict them.
Co-sponsored by the Logic and Philosophy of Science group in the Philosophy Department