Inference to the best explanation


Inferential virtues

  • Simplicity, mechanism, fertility (fruitfulnesss), precision, scope, coherence with background beliefs (unity, consilience)

Hungerford's objection

  • "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - What counts as the best theory is relative.
  • Lipton: Relative to accessible evidence, but not that relative.

Voltaire's objection

  • We might not be in the best possible world. The best theory need not be true.
  • Lipton: Reduces to Hume's problem.