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Confirmation and Reduction: A Bayesian Account

Dizadji-Bahmani, Foad and Frigg, Roman and Hartmann, Stephan (2010) Confirmation and Reduction: A Bayesian Account. [Preprint]


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Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the reduced theory before and after the reduction using Bayesian networks, and thereby show that, post-reduction, the two theories are confirmatory of each other. We then ask when a purported reduction should be accepted on epistemic grounds. To do so, we compare the prior and posterior probabilities of the conjunction of both theories before and after the reduction and ask how well each is confirmed by the available evidence.

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Item Type: Preprint
Dizadji-Bahmani, Foad
Frigg, Roman
Hartmann, Stephan
Additional Information: The paper will appear in Synthese.
Keywords: Reduction, confirmation, Bayesianism
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Stephan Hartmann
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2010
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:19
Item ID: 5324

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