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Durham University

Department of Philosophy

Rune Nyrup

04th November 2014, 6pm

Title: How Explanatory Reasoning Justifies Pursuit: A Peircean View of IBE

Explanationism is a view according to which the fact that a hypothesis would be a good explanation of one or more phenomena gives some additional reason to accept it as true. This is usually called Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). But why should a hypothesis be any more likely actually to be true just because it would be a good explanation if it were true? Explanationists face the problem of accounting for how explanatoriness can act as a guide to likeliness.

In this paper I defend an alternative to explanationism which I call the Peircean view. According to this view explanatory reasoning, and IBE in particular, only give reasons for pursuing hypotheses. This side-steps the truth-connection problem facing explanationism. Furthermore, the Peircean view does not face any analogous problems either. I present an account of justification for pursuit (inspired by C.S. Peirce's writings on abduction) and show how this provides for a simple and straightforward connection between explanatoriness and justification for pursuit.