Philosophy of Science

Belief, Evidence, and Uncertainty

Problems of Epistemic Inference

Authors: Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S., Brittan Jr., Gordon, Taper, Mark L

  • ​Breaks new ground in building personal and scientific epistemology using the principles of belief, confirmation, and evidence
  • Makes precise a distinction between the concepts of confirmation and evidence and analyzes the importance of such a distinction
  • Discusses the bearings of some statistical theorems on both formal and traditional epistemologies
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-27772-1
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Softcover $54.99
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-27770-7
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About this book

This work breaks new ground by carefully distinguishing the concepts of belief, confirmation, and evidence and then integrating them into a better understanding of personal and scientific epistemologies. It outlines a probabilistic framework in which subjective features of personal knowledge and objective features of public knowledge have their true place. It also discusses the bearings of some statistical theorems on both formal and traditional epistemologies while showing how some of the existing paradoxes in both can be resolved with the help of this framework.This book has two central aims: First, to make precise a distinction between the concepts of confirmation and evidence and to argue that failure to recognize this distinction is the source of certain otherwise intractable epistemological problems. The second goal is to demonstrate to philosophers the fundamental importance of statistical and probabilistic methods, at stake in the uncertain conditions in which for the most part we lead our lives, not simply to inferential practice in science, where they are now standard, but to epistemic inference in other contexts as well. Although the argument is rigorous, it is also accessible. No technical knowledge beyond the rudiments of probability theory, arithmetic, and algebra is presupposed, otherwise unfamiliar terms are always defined and a number of concrete examples are given. At the same time, fresh analyses are offered with a discussion of statistical and epistemic reasoning by philosophers. This book will also be of interest to scientists and statisticians looking for a larger view of their own inferential techniques.The book concludes with a technical appendix which introduces an evidential approach to multi-model inference as an alternative to Bayesian model averaging.

About the authors

Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay specializes in philosophy of science with applications of probability and statistics in addressing some long-standing problems in scientific inference. Along with his co-authors, he has both developed and sharpened a partially subjective/objective Bayesian approach in epistemology of science. They have also proposed a logic-based account of Simpson’s paradox as an alternative to the well-entrenched causal accounts of the same. He was the only philosopher involved in NASA’s multidisciplinary origin of life research 6 million dollar grant (2007 July – 2012 June) for Montana State University. He co-edited with Malcolm, R. Forster the Handbook of Philosophy of Statistics volume (Elsevier, 2011). He was an invited speaker for the International Conference on Bayesian Statistics held in Varanasi, India in 2013. He is currently editing a Newsletter for the American Philosophical Associations’ Asian Americans on “Indian Philosophy and Culture” due to come out in Feb, 2015.Gordon Brittan, Jr.’s work focuses on philosophy of science and mathematics, with special reference to the 17th and 18th centuries and the application of free-logical, statistical and probabilistic methods to the solution of traditional and contemporary methodological and epistemological problems. With Karel Lambert, he authored An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, which has appeared in four editions and been translated eight times. He is also the author of Kant’s Theory of Science (Princeton University Press, 1978) and the editor of Causality, Method, and Modality: Essays in Honor of Jules Vuillemin (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991).
Mark L. Taper’s research involves statistical and quantitative modelling, both analytic and computational, to answer questions in conservation biology, population dynamics, conservation genetics, evolutionary ecology, community ecology, population genetics, spatial ecology, and macro ecology. He is deeply concerned with effectively connecting ecological and evolutionary theory with the real world. This has led him to work on the construction of statistical methodologies appropriate to ecological and evolutionary problems and to an interest in the epistemological foundations of both statistics and science. He co-edited with Subhash Lele, The Nature of Scientific Evidence: Scientific, Philosophical, and Empirical Considerations (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  • Introductory Remarks—Inferential Uncertainty

    Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. (et al.)

    Pages 3-13

  • Bayesian and Evidential Paradigms

    Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. (et al.)

    Pages 15-36

  • Confirmation and Evidence Distinguished

    Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. (et al.)

    Pages 37-48

  • Initial Difficulties Dispelled

    Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. (et al.)

    Pages 49-60

  • A Subjective Bayesian Surrogate for Evidence

    Bandyopadhyay, Prasanta S. (et al.)

    Pages 63-72

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-27772-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-27770-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Belief, Evidence, and Uncertainty
Book Subtitle
Problems of Epistemic Inference
Authors
Series Title
Philosophy of Science
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-27772-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-27772-1
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-27770-7
Series ISSN
2366-4495
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 178
Number of Illustrations and Tables
9 illustrations in colour
Topics