In It’s Not Easy Being Grue, I argued for skepticism — or at least incredulity — towards any inductive inference made solely by appealing to a posteriori evidence. Two hypotheses, as long as they have a logical content greater than the evidence and are not yet refuted are, as a matter of following the rules of logic, necessarily equally favored by the evidence. Even if one should appeal to one of the two hypotheses having a natural property, this problem still stands, since it cannot be uncovered through a posteriori investigation. Of course, more than two hypotheses fit this criteria — any number of empirically adequate hypotheses with greater logical content than the evidence may be constructed. In sum, favoring one hypothesis over another, even with an a prior warrant, cannot be determined from a posteriori evidence at all.
Posts Tagged ‘grue’
Not many people have heard of Alfred North Whitehead’s (yes, the coauthor of the Principia Mathematica!) 1922 theory of gravitation. It’s an interesting theory, not just for its content, but for its historical significance: for the longest time, both Einstein’s theory of gravitation and Whitehead’s theory of gravitation predicted “not only for the three classic tests of light bending, gravitational redshift and the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, but also for the Shapiro time delay effect,” (See Gary Biggons, On the Multiple Deaths of Whitehead’s Theory of Gravity) and subsequently both theories were equally corroborated by the data.