Genuine Confirmation and Tacking by Conjunction

Research paper by Schippers M, Schurz G.

Indexed on: 27 Feb '20Published on: 27 Jun '18Published in: The British journal for the philosophy of science


AbstractTacking by conjunction is a deep problem for Bayesian confirmation theory. It is based on the insight that to each hypothesis h that is confirmed by a piece of evidence e one can ‘tack’ an irrelevant hypothesis h′ so that h∧h′ is also confirmed by e. This seems counter-intuitive. Existing Bayesian solution proposals try to soften the negative impact of this result by showing that although h∧h′ is confirmed by e, it is so only to a lower degree. In this article we outline some problems of these proposals and develop an alternative solution based on a new concept of confirmation that we call genuine confirmation. After pointing out that genuine confirmation is a necessary condition for cumulative confirmation we apply this notion to the tacking by conjunction problem. We consider both the question of what happens when irrelevant hypotheses are added to a hypothesis h that is confirmed by e as well as the question of what happens when h is disconfirmed. The upshot of our discussion will be that genuine confirmation provides a robust solution for each of the different perspectives. 1 Introduction 2 Tacking by Conjunction: Existing Solution Proposals 3 Genuine Confirmation   3.1 Content elements and content parts   3.2 Qualitative genuine confirmation   3.3 Quantitative genuine confirmation 4 Tacking by Conjunction: The Case of Confirmation 5 Tacking by Conjunction: The Case of Disconfirmation 6 Tacking by Conjunction: Adding Multiple Hypotheses 7 Conclusion Appendix