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Symmetry 2011, 3(3), 680-698; doi:10.3390/sym3030680

Symmetry and Evidential Support

Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Received: 27 April 2011 / Revised: 25 August 2011 / Accepted: 30 August 2011 / Published: 16 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Probability and Inference)
Download PDF [251 KB, 19 September 2011; original version 16 September 2011]


This article proves that formal theories of evidential favoring must fail because they are inevitably language dependent. I begin by describing Carnap’s early confirmation theories to show how language dependence problems (like Goodman’s grue problem) arise. I then generalize to showthat any formal favoring theory satisfying minimal plausible conditions will yield different judgments about the same evidence and hypothesis when they are expressed in alternate languages. This does not just indict formal theories of favoring; it also shows that something beyond our evidence must be invoked to substantively favor one hypothesis over another.
Keywords: evidence; evidential support; Carnap; grue; language dependence evidence; evidential support; Carnap; grue; language dependence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Titelbaum, M.G. Symmetry and Evidential Support. Symmetry 2011, 3, 680-698.

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