Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Corroboration, Confirmation, Bayesianism, Intersubjective probability, Karl Popper, Formal epistemology
How are we to understand the use of probability in corroboration functions? Popper says logically, but does not show we could have access to, or even calculate, probability values in a logical sense. This makes the logical interpretation untenable, as Ramsey and van Fraassen have argued.
If corroboration functions only make sense when the probabilities employed therein are subjective, however, then what counts as impressive evidence for a theory might be a matter of convention, or even whim. So isn’t so-called ‘corroboration’ just a matter of psychology?
In this paper, I argue that we can go some way towards addressing this objection by adopting an intersubjective interpretation, of the form advocated by Gillies, with respect to corroboration. I show why intersubjective probabilities are preferable to subjective ones when it comes to decision making in science: why group decisions are liable to be superior to individual ones, given a number of plausible conditions. I then argue that intersubjective corroboration is preferable to intersubjective confirmation of a Bayesian variety, because there is greater opportunity for principled agreement concerning the factors involved in the former.
Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd
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Rowbottom, D. P. (2008). Intersubjective corroboration. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 39(1), 124-132. doi: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2007.11.010