Bayesian Confirmation: A Means With No End

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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

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Broessel, Peter; Huber, Franz
article description
Any theory of confirmation must answer the following question: what is the purpose of its conception of confirmation for scientific inquiry? In this paper we argue that no Bayesian conception of confirmation can be used for its primary intended purpose, which we take to be saying how worthy of belief various hypotheses are. Then we consider a different use Bayesian confirmation might be put to, namely to determine the epistemic value of experimental outcomes, and thus to decide which experiments to carry out. Interestingly Bayesian confirmation theorists rule out that confirmation be used for this purpose. We conclude that Bayesian confirmation is a means with no end.