HPS 2682       Theories of Confirmation        Fall 2010
Phil 2690


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Week Date Topic/Reading Presented by
1 Aug. 30 Introduction
Review of topics. Vote.
"A Little Survey of Induction"
Sep. 6 Labor Day
Warm-up Case Studies
2 Sep. 13 Lines of Evidence: The Science of Evolution"
String theory
Peter Woit, "Is String Theory Even Wrong?" American Scientist, March-April, 2002.
Richard Dawid, "Underdetermination and Theory Succession from the Perspective of String Theory." Philosophy of Science 73 No.3 (2006), pp. 298-322.
A brief statement of an interesting evidential claim in science made by scientists.
(Five minutes each only)
All registered seminar members
Inductive Generalization
3 Sep. 20 "Hempel's Satisfaction Criterion of Confirmation" in John D. Norton, "A Survey of Inductive Generalization." Norton
"Glymour's Bootstrap" in John D. Norton, "A Survey of Inductive Generalization." Norton
Demonstrative induction
"Demonstrative Induction" in John D. Norton, "A Survey of Inductive Generalization."
Hypothetical Induction
4 Sep. 27 Exclusionary accounts. (Error statistical methods.)
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.
Sarah Weller
Sep. 27 Simplicity and the Akaike criterion
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.
Jonathan Livengood
Sep. 27 Inference to a common cause
Michel Janssen, "COI Stories: Explanation and Evidence in the History of Science." Perspectives on Science, 10(2002): 457-522.
Greg Gandenberger
Probabilistic Induction
5 Oct. 4 A Bayes' primer
Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger, "Bayesian Epistemology." In Duncan Pritchard & Sven Bernecker (eds.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology. Routledge.
Elizabeth Richey
Oct. 4 Probability Disassembled
John D. Norton, "Probability Disassembled," British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 58 (2007), pp. 141-171.
Oct. 11 No Classes. Monday classes moved to Tuesday.
6 Oct. 12
Savage's decision theoretic justification of Bayesianism
L. J. Savage, Foundations of Statistics. Ch 1-3.
Jennifer Jhun
Oct. 12
Scoring Rule Justifications of Bayesianism
James Joyce, "A Nonpragmatic Vindication of Probabilism," Philosophy of Science, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Dec., 1998), pp. 575-603
Robert Steel
Oct. 12 (Optional reading for the zealous)
James Joyce, "Accuracy and Coherence: Prospects for an Alethic Epistemology of Partial Belief," in F. Huber, C. Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Degrees of Belief, Synthese Library 342, pp. 263-97.
Jonah N. Schupbach
7 Oct. 18 Alternative calculi: Shafer-Dempster theory
Glenn Shafer, A Mathematical Theory of Evidence, Ch. 1 "Introduction."
Glenn Shafer, "Probability Judgments in Artificial Intelligence," pp. 127-34 in L. N. Kanal and J. F. Lemmer eds, Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence. Elsevier Science, 1986.
Greg Gandenberger
Oct. 18
Arguments against Bayesianism

John D. Norton,"Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-". Philosophy of Science. Forthcoming. I will discuss Sections 1-4. Handout.

John D. Norton, "There are No Universal Rules for Induction," Philosophy of Science, forthcoming. I will discuss Section 2. Handout.

(Optional reading for the zealous)
John D. Norton, “Challenges to Bayesian Confirmation Theory,” Prepared for Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay and Malcolm Forster (eds.), Philosophy of Statistics: Vol. 7 Handbook of the Philosophy of Science. Elsevier.

Oct. 18 Deductively definable logics of induction
John D. Norton, "Deductively Definable Logics of Induction." Journal of Philosophical Logic, forthcoming.
For a less formal development, see "What Logics of Induction are There? href="http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/Goodies/index.html"" in Goodies.
Problems of Induction
8 Oct. 25 Underdetermination
Stathis Psillos, ‘Underdetermination’, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Gale MacMillan Reference, 2005.
Larry Laudan and Jarrett Leplin, "Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination," Journal of Philosophy, 88 (1991), pp. 449-72.
Jeff Sykora
Oct. 25 Observationally equivalent spacetimes
John D. Norton, "Observationally Indistinguishable Spacetimes: A Challenge for Any Inductivist." In G. Morgan, ed., Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein. Oxford University Press.
Further Topics
9 Nov. 1 The Bayesian response to Hume's inductive skepticism and his argument against miracles

Read John Earman, "Bayes, Hume, Price, and Miracles," Proceedings of the British Academy, 113, 2002, pp. 91-109.

Skim John Earman, "Bayes's Bayesianism" Ch. 1 in Bayes or Bust. MIT, Bradford.

Glance at Bayes original essay to get a sense of his project:
"An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances. By the late Rev. Mr. Bayes, communicated by Mr. Price, in a letter to John Canton, M. A. and F. R. S." facsimile or transcribed.
John Earman
Nov. 1 Material Theory of Induction
John D. Norton "A Material Theory of Induction" Philosophy of Science, 70(October 2003), pp. 647-70.
A briefer treatment comes towards the end of John D. Norton, "A Little Survey of Induction," in P. Achinstein, ed., Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories and Applications. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1905. pp. 9-34.
Nov. 4-6 PSA in Montreal
10 Nov. 8 Measures of explanatory power
Jonah N. Schupbach, "Inference to the Best Explanation, Cleaned Up and Made Respectable"
Jonah N. Schupbach
Nov. 8 de Finetti lottery
Paul Bartha, "Countable Additivity and the de Finetti lottery," British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2004), 301-321.
Sarah Weller
11 Nov. 15 Confirmation theory and the learning theoretic paradigm
Kevin T. Kelly, "The Logic of Success" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, special millennium issue, 51, 2001, 639-666.
Kevin T. Kelly, "Simplicity, Truth, and Probability" in Handbook for the Philosophy of Statistics, Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay and Malcolm Forster eds., Dordrecht: Elsevier. 2010.

Supplementary reading for the very eager: Ockham’s Razor: A New Justification, Project Web Page

Kevin T. Kelly
12 Nov. 22 Newton's argument for his System of the World.

See Box 6 "Newton's Arguments in Principia" and Box 7 "Newton's Arguments in Principia: From the Approximate to the Exact Inverse Square Law" in John D. Norton, A Survey of Inductive Generalization.

While reading the Boxes, compare against Newton's original in Principia:
Title page, Book 1 Prop. 1-4, Book 1 Prop 44-45, Book 3 to Prop 15.
Fragments downloaded from http://www.archive.org/details/newtonspmathema00newtrich
Nov. 22 Evidence and the Electron
John D. Norton, "How We Know About Electrons," pp. 67- 97 in R. Nola and H. Sankey, eds., After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend; Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Dordrecht Kluwer.
I will concentrate on demonstrative inductions in the Bohr's theory of the atom described in Section 4.
Nov. 22 Term paper topic due
Nov. 24-26 Thanksgiving Break
Report on Case Studies
13 Nov. 29 Jennifer Jhun
Elizabeth Richey
Jeff Sykora
Sarah Weller
14 Dec. 6 Eric Hatleback
Greg Gandenberger
Robert Steel
Dec. 17 Term paper due. Hard copy by noon in 1017CL or e-versions emailed by 5pm.