Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Evidence, Inference and Enquiry$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Philip Dawid, William Twining, and Mimi Vasilaki

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264843

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264843.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 30 March 2020

What the Ravens Really Teach Us: the Intrinsic Contextuality of Evidence

What the Ravens Really Teach Us: the Intrinsic Contextuality of Evidence

Chapter:
(p.344) (p.345) 13 What the Ravens Really Teach Us: the Intrinsic Contextuality of Evidence
Source:
Evidence, Inference and Enquiry
Author(s):

HASOK CHANG

GRANT FISHER

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264843.003.0013

This chapter advances a contextual view of evidence, through a reconsideration of Hempel's paradox of confirmation (the ‘ravens paradox’). The initial view regarding Hempel's paradox is that a non-black non-raven does confirm ‘All ravens are black’, but only in certain contexts. The chapter begins by reformulating the paradox as a puzzle about how the same entity can have variable evidential values for a given proposition. It then offers a three-stage solution to the reformulated paradox. (1) The situation makes better sense when we reach a deeper propositional understanding of evidence, recognising that each entity can be represented in multiple observational propositions. (2) Some anti-contextualist intuitions can be defused by distinguishing two different senses of the word ‘evidence’, one applying to objects or events and the other applying to propositions; only the latter is relevant to inference. (3) A fuller understanding comes from analysing the constitution and use of evidence in terms of epistemic action. These reflections on the ravens paradox suggest a general philosophical framework more suitable for understanding the function of evidence in scientific and everyday practices.

Keywords:   evidence, Hempel's paradox, ravens paradox, philosophical framework, contextuality

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.