What's Wrong With Our Theories of Evidence?

Citation data:

THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 29, Issue: 2, Page: 283-306

Publication Year:
Usage 728
Downloads 264
Abstract Views 236
Full Text Views 213
Link-outs 15
Captures 35
Exports-Saves 24
Readers 11
Social Media 1
Tweets 1
Citations 4
Citation Indexes 4
Repository URL:
Reiss, Julian
UPV/EHU Press; Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del PaĆ­s Vasco
Arts and Humanities
Most Recent Tweet View All Tweets
article description
This paper surveys and critically assesses existing theories of evidence with respect to four desiderata. A good theory of evidence should be both a theory of evidential support (i.e., be informative about what kinds of facts speak in favour of a hypothesis), and of warrant (i.e., be informative about how strongly a given set of facts speaks in favour of the hypothesis), it should apply to the non-ideal cases in which scientists typically find themselves, and it should be 'descriptively adequate', i.e., able to adequately represent typical episodes of evidentiary reasoning. The theories surveyed here-Bayesianism, hypotheticodeductivism, satisfaction theories, error statistics as well as Achinstein's and Cartwright's theories-are all found wanting in important respects. I finally argue that a deficiency all these theories have in common is a neglect or underplaying of the epistemic context in which the episode of evidentiary reasoning takes place.