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The No Alternatives Argument

Dawid, Richard and Hartmann, Stephan and Sprenger, Jan (2013) The No Alternatives Argument. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Scientific theories are hard to find, and once scientists have found a theory H, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to H. But is this belief justified? What should scientists believe about the number of alternatives to H, and how should they change these beliefs in the light of new evidence? These are some of the questions that we will address in this paper. We also ask under which conditions failure to find an alternative to H confirms the theory in question. This kind of reasoning (which we call the No Alternatives Argument) is frequently used in science and therefore deserves a careful philosophical analysis.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: The paper will appear in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Keywords: Confirmation theory, evidence, underdetermination
    Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
    Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
    General Issues > Theory/Observation
    Depositing User: Stephan Hartmann
    Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2013 08:16
    Last Modified: 25 Feb 2013 08:16
    Item ID: 9588
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9588

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