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Inference to the best explanation

We often conclude that the best available explanation of an observation is probably true *because* it is best available explanation.

Inferences to the best explanation are common in scientific reasoning.

We offer an inference to the best explanation when we conclude that the best available explanation of an observation or state of affairs is probably true because it’s the best available explanation of the observation. A little more formally:

  • S is a state of affairs, a collection of data, facts, observations, givens.
  • A hypothesis, H, would, if true, explain S.
  • No other hypothesis can explain S as well as H does.
  • Therefore, probably,
  • H is true.
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Logical and Critical Thinking

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