The Significance of Non-Empirical Confirmation in Fundamental Physics

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Dawid, Richard
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In the absence of empirical confirmation, scientists may judge a theory's chances of being viable based on a wide range of arguments. The paper argues that such arguments can differ substantially with regard to their structural similarly to empirical confirmation. Arguments that resemble empirical confirmation in a number of crucial respects provide a better basis for reliable judgement and can, in a Bayesian sense, amount to significant \textit{non-empirical} confirmation. It is shown that three kinds of non-empirical confirmation that have been specified in earlier work do satisfy those conditions.