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Article

Naturalizing Logic: How Knowledge of Mechanisms Enhances Inductive Inference

Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
Academic Editors: Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic and Marcin J. Schroeder
Philosophies 2021, 6(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020052
Received: 17 May 2021 / Revised: 14 June 2021 / Accepted: 17 June 2021 / Published: 21 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 3)
This paper naturalizes inductive inference by showing how scientific knowledge of real mechanisms provides large benefits to it. I show how knowledge about mechanisms contributes to generalization, inference to the best explanation, causal inference, and reasoning with probabilities. Generalization from some A are B to all A are B is more plausible when a mechanism connects A to B. Inference to the best explanation is strengthened when the explanations are mechanistic and when explanatory hypotheses are themselves mechanistically explained. Causal inference in medical explanation, counterfactual reasoning, and analogy also benefit from mechanistic connections. Mechanisms also help with problems concerning the interpretation, availability, and computation of probabilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: induction; inference; logic; mechanisms; naturalism; probability induction; inference; logic; mechanisms; naturalism; probability
MDPI and ACS Style

Thagard, P. Naturalizing Logic: How Knowledge of Mechanisms Enhances Inductive Inference. Philosophies 2021, 6, 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020052

AMA Style

Thagard P. Naturalizing Logic: How Knowledge of Mechanisms Enhances Inductive Inference. Philosophies. 2021; 6(2):52. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020052

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thagard, Paul. 2021. "Naturalizing Logic: How Knowledge of Mechanisms Enhances Inductive Inference" Philosophies 6, no. 2: 52. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020052

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