HPS 2682
Phil 2690
Theories of Confirmation Spring 2017


Back to course document list.

Week Date Topic/Reading Presented by
1 Jan. 5 Introduction
Review of topics. Vote.
"A Little Survey of Induction"

Warm-up Case Studies
2 Jan. 12 Background to "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections": The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution, 6 January 2017 Or here. Norton

Jan. 12 Evidence in the legal and criminal context

Report to the President: Forensic Science in the Criminal Courts: Ensuring Feature-Comparison Methods.

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition. Federal Judicial Center
slides Report...
slides Manual...

Jan. 12 Evidence for Climate Change

Climate change: How do we know? NASA Website

Cook et al. "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 4

Climate Change, Evidence & Causes: An overview from the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences

IPCC 2014 Technical Summary Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Slides IPCC2014

Jan. 12 A brief statement of an interesting evidential claim in science made by scientists.
(Five minutes each only)
All registered seminar members

Exclusionary Accounts: Error Statistical Methods
3 Jan. 19 Deborah G. Mayo, "Evidence as Passing Severe Tests: Highly Probable versus Highly Probed Hypotheses," in, P. Achinstein, ed., Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories and Applications. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, pp. 94-127. Siska de Baerdemaeker

Abduction/Inference to the Best Explanation

Jan 19
Paul Thagard, "The Best Explanation: Criteria for Theory Choice," Journal of Philosophy, 75 (1978): 76-92.

Background reading: Igor Douven, "Abduction", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Zina Ward

Jan 19 Malcolm Forster and Elliott Sober, "How to Tell when Simpler, More Unified, or Less Ad Hoc Theories will Provide More Accurate Predictions," British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 45 (1994). pp. 1?35.

Background reading: To find out how it really works, see John D. Norton, "Simplicity as Model Selection," draft chapter for The Material Theory of Induction.
Jennifer Whyte

Probabilistic Induction: Bayes Primer
Subjective versus Objective Bayesianism

4 Jan. 26 Richard Jeffrey, Subjective Probability: The Real Thing. Ch. 1. Probability Primer Josh Fry

Jan. 26 Richard Jeffrey, Subjective Probability: The Real Thing. Ch. 2. Testing Scientific Theories Jacob Neal

Jan. 26 Bruno de Finetti, "Probabilism: A Critical Essay on the Theory of Probability and on the Value of Science," Erkenntnis 31(1989), pp. 169-223. (Bruno de Finetti, "Probabilismo," Napoli, Logos 14 (1931), 163-219. Translated by Maria Concetta Di Maio, Maria Carla Galavotti, and Richard C. Jeffrey.) Tom Wysocki

Subjective versus Objective Bayesianism
Arguments for Bayesianism

5 Feb. 2 Jon Williamson, "Philosophies of Probability," Draft for A. Irvine (ed.): Handbook of the Philosophy of Mathematics, Volume 4 of the Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Elsevier.
Section III. Objective Bayesianism.
Tom Wysocki

Feb. 2 Edwin T. Jaynes, "Prior Probabilities," IEEE Transactions on Systems Science and Cybernetics, SSC-4, No. 3, 1968, pp. 227-241. Jacob Neal

Feb. 2 James Joyce, "A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism," Philosophy of Science, 65, No. 4 (Dec., 1998), pp. 575-603.
Josh Fry

Arguments for Bayesianism
6 Feb. 9 Samir Okasha, "Van Fraassen's Critique of Inference to the Best Explanation," Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 31, (2000), pp. 691-710. Jennifer Whyte

Feb. 9
E. T. Jaynes, Probability Theory: The Logic of Science. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Chapters 1-2. Focus on the derivation of the product and sum rules, Sections 2.1 and 2.2.

Background reading: one form of the basic theorem behind Cox and Jaynes' analysis is given by Aczel in his book on functional analysis. J. Aczel, Lectures on Functional Equations and Their Applications. Academic Press, 1966. pp. 319-24.

A precursor to Jaynes' analysis is R. T. Cox, The Algebra of Probable Inference. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1961, Ch 1.
Josh Fry

Feb. 9 John D. Norton, "Probability Disassembled" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58 (2007), pp. 141-171. Norton

7 Feb. 16 Richard Royall, "The First Principle," Ch.1 in Statistical Evidence: A Likelihood Paradigm. Chapman & Hall/CRC, 1997. Zina Ward

Feb. 16 Jason Grossman, "The Likelihood Principle" in Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay and Malcolm R. Forster, Philosophy of Statistics, Amsterdam: North Holland-Elsevier, 2011.
Michael Begun

Feb. 16 Greg Gandenberger, "Why I am not a Likelihoodist," Philosophers' Imprint Vol 16, May, 2016, pp. 1-22. Siska de Baerdemaeker

Bayesian Measures of Support
8 Feb. 23 Ellery Eels and Branden Fitelson, "Symmetries and Asymmetries in Evidential Support," Philosophical Studies, 107 (2002), pp. 129-142. Shahin Kaveh

Feb. 23 Vincenzo Crupi, Katya Tentori, and Michel Gonzalez, "On Bayesian Measures of Evidential Support: Theoretical and Empirical Issues," Philosophy of Science, 74 (2007), pp. 229-252. Tom Wysocki

Feb. 23 Jan Sprenger, "Two Impossibility Results for Measures of Corroboration," http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11870/ Emily Howe

Imprecise Probabilities
9 Mar. 2 John D. Norton "Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-". Philosophy of Science. 77 (2010), pp. 501-23. Norton
from Pitt-Tsinghua Summer School for Philosophy of Science, 2011

Mar. 2 Yann Benetreau-Dupin, "The Bayesian Who Knew Too Much" Synthese 192, no. 5 (2015), pp. 1527-1542. Yann Benetreau-Dupin

Mar. 2 Lee Elkin, "The Many Faces of Confirmation in Imprecise Probability Theory." Manuscript. Lee Elkin

Mar. 6-10 Spring Recess

Material Theory of Induction
10 Mar. 16 Chapters from The Material Theory of Induction Synoptic table of contents

1. The Material Theory of Induction Stated and Illustrated
2. What Powers Inductive Inference?

Mar. 16 4. Analogy
6. Simplicity as a Surrogate
slides (analogy)
slides (simplicity)

Material Theory of Induction
11 Mar. 23 8. Inference to the Best Explanation: The General Account
9. Inference to the Best Explanation: Examples

Mar. 23 12. Infinite Lottery Machines

Optional reading for more ideas in the same direction
13. Indeterministic Systems
14. Nonmeasurable Outcomes


12 Mar. 30 Larry Laudan and Jarrett Leplin, "Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination," Journal of Philosophy, 88 (1991), pp. 449-72. Jennifer Whyte

Mar. 30 Kyle Stanford, "The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives," Ch.2 in Exceeding Our Grasp Science, History and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. Oxford University Press. 2006. Yann Benetreau-Dupin

Mar. 30 Richard Dawid, "Underdetermination and Theory Succession from the Perspective of String Theory." Philosophy of Science 73 No.3 (2006), pp. 298-322. Shahin Kaveh

Mar. 30 Term paper topic due

Newton's Argument for Universal Gravitation (+Others?)
13 Apr. 6 Newton's Principia, Book 1, Propositions 1-4.
Newton's Principia, Book 3, Up to Propositions 15.
Shahin Kaveh

Apr. 6 William Harper, "Newton's Classic Deductions from Phenomena," PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1990, Volume Two. (1990), pp. 183-96. Michael Begun

Apr. 6 Box 6. Newton's Arguments in Principia, pp. 105-109.
Box 7. Newton's Arguments in Principia: From the Approximate to the Exact Inverse Square Law, pp. 128-135.
in John D. Norton "A Survey of Inductive Generalization".

Newton's Principia, Book 1, Propositions 44-45.
Norton (Unless someone else wants it)

Evidence for Climate Change
14 Apr. 13 IPCC Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report
IPCC 2014 Technical Summary
Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Optional background reading: William Rehg and Kent Staley, "'Agreement' in the IPCC Confidence measure," Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 57 (2017), pp. 126-134.
Zina Ward

Apr. 13 Cook et al. "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming" Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 4
Emily Howe

Apr. 13 Richard Bradley, Casey Helgeson and Brian Hill, "Climate Change Assessments: Confidence, Probability and Decision" Mikael Cozic

Apr. 13 Climate Change, Evidence & Causes: An overview from the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences An orphan reading. Optional.

Reports on Case Studies, General Discussion
15 Apr. 20


Friday Apr. 28
Term paper due. Hard copy by noon in 1017CL or e-versions emailed by 5pm.