Project

Back to overview

Inferentialism, Bayesianism and Scientific Explanation

Applicant Weber Marcel
Number 160866
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.10.2015 - 31.10.2018
Approved amount 111'805.00
Show all

Keywords (8)

Bayesianism; Scientific explanation; Philosophy of science; Inferentialism; Biological function; Finance; Philosophy of biology; Philosophy of economics

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Dieses Projekt untersucht die wahrscheinlichkeitstheoretischen Grundlagen von so genannten "Schlüssen auf die beste Erklärung" anhand von Fallbeispielen aus der Finanzmarkttheorie sowie der Biologe.
Lay summary
In den Wissenschaften wie auch im Alltag schliessen wir oft von einer Tatsache auf eine weitere Tatsache, welche die beste Erklärung der ersten Tatsache liefert. Z.B. schliessen wir von Bärentatzen im Schnee auf die Anwesenheit eines Bären oder von einer Reihe von Krankheitssymptomen auf das Vorliegen jener Krankheit, die die beste Erklärung für diese Symptome liefert. Die logischen Grundlagen solcher "Schlüsse auf die beste Erklärung" (inferences to the best expanation) sind in der Logik und Wissenschaftstheorie bis heute nur unzureichend geklärt worden. Besonders ist nicht klar, warum man vom Vorliegen einer Erklärung auf die Wahrheit der Aussagen schliessen darf, die diese Erklärung leisten. In diesem Projekt soll die Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie, genauer gesagt: die Theorie bayesianischer Netzwerke, verwendet werden, um diese Frage zu klären. Zu diesem Zweck werden Fallbeispiele aus der Finanzmarkttheorie und aus der Biologie herbeigezogen.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 26.01.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Which Kind of Causal Specificity Matters?
WeberMarcel (2017), Which Kind of Causal Specificity Matters?, in Philosophy of Science, 84, 574-585.
Book Review of “Causal Nets, Interventionism, and Mechanisms. Philosophical Foundations and Applications” by Alexander Gebharter
Casini Lorenzo, Book Review of “Causal Nets, Interventionism, and Mechanisms. Philosophical Foundations and Applications” by Alexander Gebharter, in Journal for General Philosophy of Science.
Hypothetical Interventions and Belief Changes
AndreasHolger, CasiniLorenzo, Hypothetical Interventions and Belief Changes, in Fopundations of Science.
Malfunctions and Teleology: On the (Dim) Chances of Statistical Accounts of Functions
CasiniLorenzo, Malfunctions and Teleology: On the (Dim) Chances of Statistical Accounts of Functions, in European Journal of Philosophy of Science.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Michael Baumgartner, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen Norway (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Stephan Hartmann, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, MLU München Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Holger Andreas, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Radin Dardashti, Department of Philosophy, University of Wuppertal Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Causation and Mechanisms: From Methodology to Metaphysics Talk given at a conference Constitution and Causal Roles 04.08.2018 Copenhagen, Denmark Casini Lorenzo;
PhD Retreat of the Department of Biomedical Science, University of Basel Talk given at a conference Is Gene Centrism Defensible? 07.06.2018 Einsiedeln, Switzerland Weber Marcel;
Biennial Meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association Talk given at a conference Causal Specificity, Biological Possibility, and Non-parity About Genetic Causes 06.09.2017 Exeter, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Weber Marcel;
Laboratory of Economics and Management, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Talk given at a conference The Confirmatory Value of Robustness Analysis in Economics 23.11.2016 Pisa, Italy Casini Lorenzo;
Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association Talk given at a conference A Bayesian Theory of Constitution 03.11.2016 Atlanta, United States of America Casini Lorenzo;
Workshop on Economics and Explanation Talk given at a conference How Theoretical Explorations Explain: A Bayesian Account 29.10.2016 Bristol, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Casini Lorenzo;
Société de philosophie des sciences Talk given at a conference A Bayesian Theory of Constitution 29.06.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Casini Lorenzo;
Workshop "Understanding Life. New Perspectives from Philosophy and Biology" Talk given at a conference Functional Integration 26.05.2016 Bern, Switzerland Weber Marcel;
Seminar series in Philosophy of Biology Individual talk Immunology Unit, CNRS & University of Bordeaux 27.04.2016 Bordeaux, France Weber Marcel;
Munich-Sydney-Tilburg Conference in Philosophy of Science Talk given at a conference A Bayesian Theory of Constitution 01.04.2016 Munich, Germany Casini Lorenzo;
Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsphilosophie Talk given at a conference A Bayesian Theory of Constitution 08.03.2016 Düsseldorf, Germany Casini Lorenzo;
Malfunctions and Teleology: On the (Dim) Chances of Statistical Accounts of Functions Individual talk Colloquium in Philosophy of Science 14.12.2015 Bern, Switzerland Casini Lorenzo;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Explanatory Power 14.06.2018 Geneva, Switzerland

Abstract

Explanation constitutes a cornerstone of scientific rationality. But what is valid explanatory reasoning? And when is valid explanatory reasoning a guide to truth? Although these questions have generated much debate, no unanimously accepted answers have emerged. Our research program aims to break the deadlock in the debate between different philosophical theories of explanation and to develop a new account of explanatory reasoning. To do so, the proposed research program synthesizes approaches from philosophy of language (inferentialism) and formal epistemology (Bayesianism). First, we will appeal to inferentialism to justify the interpretation of explanations as arguments that facilitate the inference the the explanandum by providing reasons. Secondly, we will use Bayesianism to quantitatively reconstruct the dynamics of explanatory reasoning in probabilistic terms. Finally, we will investigate the possibility to systematically integrate the two approaches in order to vindicate the rationality of an explanatory pattern commonly used in scientific practice, viz. inference to the best explanation. Our results will be informed by an in-depth analysis of two case studies - one from economics, viz. the explanation of the stylized facts of finance, and one from biology, viz. the explanation of biological functions - whose explanatory value is hard to account for by reference to traditional theories of scientific explanation. The combined use of inferentialism and Bayesianism and the application to the case studies will allow us to tackle the traditional task of interpreting scientific explanation from an innovative perspective, both normatively and scientifically informed.
-