PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Hypothesis competition beyond mutual exclusivity

Competition between scientific hypotheses is generally not a matter of mutual exclusivity. Consistent hypotheses can compete to varying degrees either directly or indirectly via the evidence. We motivate and defend a particular account of hypothesis competition by showing how it captures these features. Computer simulations of Bayesian inference are used to highlight the limitations of adopting mutual exclusivity as a simplify assumption to model scientific reasoning, particularly due to the exclusion of hypotheses that may be true, while discussion of a case study demonstrates the subtleties involved in hypothesis competition in scientific practice.

Author Information:

Jonah Schupbach    
University of Utah

David Glass    
Computing and Mathematics
University of Ulster


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