Abduction and Inference to the Best Explanation

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 2171-679X, Vol: 22, Issue: 3, Page: 339-346

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Iranzo, Valeriano
Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
article description
Aliseda’s Abductive Reasoning is focused on the logical problem of abduction. My paper, in contrast, deals with the epistemic problems raised by this sort of inference. I analyze the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation (IBE). Firstly a heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distin-guished. The epistemic problem is particularly pressing for the latter interpretation, since it is devoid of content without specific epistemic criteria for separating acceptable explanations from those which are not. Then I discuss two different normative interpretations of IBE. I. Niiniliuoto favours a “probabilistic-confirmational” translation of explanatory merit while S. Psillos thinks that the insight of IBE is lost in a pure probabilistic format. My conclusion is that Aliseda’s theory of abduction fits better with a heuristic ac-count of IBE.