Predictive Simplicity book cover

Predictive Simplicity

Induction Exhum'd

The book attempts to develop an account of simplicity in terms of testability, and to use this account to provide an adequate characterization of induction, one immune to the class of problems suggested by Nelson Goodman. It is then shown that the past success of induction, thus characterized, constitutes evidence for its future success. A qualitative measure of confirmation is developed, and this measure - along with the considerations of simplicity - is used to provide an account of the consilience of inductions, and also an inductivist account of the structure and progress of scientific theory. An appendix extends the treatment of simplicity to statistical distributions and provides a reasonable interpretation of the maximum entropy principle. Thus, this book is an attempt to characterize induction in terms of a well-defined notion of simplicity and to use that characterization as a basis of an account of empirical, and in particular, scientific reasoning.

Audience
For philosophers of science, systems scientists and graduate students in those areas.

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Published: February 1990

Imprint: Pergamon

ISBN: 978-0-08-037190-0

Contents

  • Part I: The Evolution of the Problem. The Justification of Induction. Hume's problem. The inductivist solution. The pragmatic vindication. The dissolution of the problem. The Characterization of Induction. Goodman's new riddle and the justification of induction. A closer look at Goodman's new riddle. Part II: The Resolution of the Problem. An Account of Simplicity. Simplicity: raw. Simplicity: refined. The Explication of Induction. Induction as simplicity. Induction justified. Some Implications of Induction. Inductive logic and confirmation. The consilience of inductions. The resilience of induction. A logic of scientific discovery. Appendix: A measure of statistical simplicity. References. Name index. Subject index.

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