The Other Kind of Confirmation

Also known as In Praise of Instance Confirmation

Abstract: It is argued that the relation of instance confirmation has a role to play in scientific methodology that complements, rather than competing with, a modern account of inductive support such as Bayesian confirmation theory. When an instance confirms a hypothesis, it provides inductive support, but it also provides two things that other inductive supporters normally do not: first, a connection to qempirical data/q that makes science epistemically special, and second, inductive support not only for the hypothesis as a whole, but for its parts. Further, when it is conceived in the right way, instance confirmation can duck the arguments most often thought to refute it. A causal account of instantiation, thus of instance confirmation, is offered that looks to deliver on all of the foregoing promises.

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