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Begging the Question: A Reason to Worry about Theory-Dependence.

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Presentation on theme: "Begging the Question: A Reason to Worry about Theory-Dependence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Begging the Question: A Reason to Worry about Theory-Dependence

2 Evidence Theory

3 Premise Conclusion Evidence Theory

4 Plan

5 Plan Begging the Question

6 Plan Rejecting Robinson’s argument against the existence of the fallacy.

7 Plan Begging the Question Rejecting Robinson’s argument against the existence of the fallacy. Def:= in terms of epistemic dependence

8 Plan Begging the Question Rejecting Robinson’s argument against the existence of the fallacy. Def:= in terms of epistemic dependence Theory-Dependence as Epistemic Circularity

9 Plan Begging the Question Rejecting Robinson’s argument against the existence of the fallacy. Def:= in terms of epistemic dependence Theory-Dependence as Epistemic Circularity Criticism of Kosso’s formal criteria of independence

10 Plan Begging the Question Rejecting Robinson’s argument against the existence of the fallacy. Def:= in terms of epistemic dependence Theory-Dependence as Epistemic Circularity Criticism of Kosso’s formal criteria of independence The problem theory-laden tests VS The problem of theory-laden justification

11 Robinson’s Argument (R)

12 The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments. The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments.

13 Robinson’s Argument (R) The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments. The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments. If the prohibition of begging the question is a law of logic or a maxim of a good scientific method, then the prohibition of begging the question is the prohibition of unsound arguments. If the prohibition of begging the question is a law of logic or a maxim of a good scientific method, then the prohibition of begging the question is the prohibition of unsound arguments.

14 Robinson’s Argument (R) The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments. The prohibition of begging the question is not the prohibition of unsound arguments. If the prohibition of begging the question is a law of logic or a maxim of a good scientific method, then the prohibition of begging the question is the prohibition of unsound arguments. If the prohibition of begging the question is a law of logic or a maxim of a good scientific method, then the prohibition of begging the question is the prohibition of unsound arguments.THERFORE “The prohibition of begging the question is not a law of logic, not a maxim of good scientific method” (Robinson 1971, 116). “The prohibition of begging the question is not a law of logic, not a maxim of good scientific method” (Robinson 1971, 116).

15 (A1) Berlin is the capital of Germany. Berlin is the capital of Germany.THEREFORE

16 Types of Dependence

17 Epistemic Dependence Epistemic Dependence

18 Types of Dependence Epistemic Dependence Epistemic Dependence Logical Dependence Logical Dependence

19 Types of Dependence Epistemic Dependence Epistemic Dependence Logical Dependence Logical Dependence Doxastic Dependence Doxastic Dependence

20 Logical (Syntactic) Approach

21 “Syntactic theorists say that whatever is bad about an argument is due to the form of the argument” (Sorensen 1991, 245).

22 Logical (Syntactic) Approach “Syntactic theorists say that whatever is bad about an argument is due to the form of the argument” (Sorensen 1991, 245). Entailment Entailment

23 Logical (Syntactic) Approach “Syntactic theorists say that whatever is bad about an argument is due to the form of the argument” (Sorensen 1991, 245). Entailment Entailment Logical Equivalence Logical Equivalence

24 Logical (Syntactic) Approach “Syntactic theorists say that whatever is bad about an argument is due to the form of the argument” (Sorensen 1991, 245). Entailment Entailment Logical Equivalence Logical Equivalence Identity Identity

25 Entailment (A2) All the members of the club attended the University of Texas. All the members of the club attended the University of Texas. Twardowski is a member of the club. Twardowski is a member of the club.THEREFORE Twardowski attended the University of Texas. Twardowski attended the University of Texas.

26 Identity (A4) MORE THAN ONE ARGUMENT IS WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS. MORE THAN ONE ARGUMENT IS WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS.THEREFORE

27 Identity (A5) THIS ARGUMENT CONFIRMS THE LAST ONE. THIS ARGUMENT CONFIRMS THE LAST ONE.THEREFORE

28 Doxastic Approach

29 Doxastic Approach (A6) Jack’s behaviour is suspicious. Jack’s behaviour is suspicious.THEREFORE He is the murderer. He is the murderer.

30 Can a justification-affording argument be epistemically circular?

31 I am awakened one night by what seems to be a loud pop. I glance at my electrical clock, but it is off. The next morning I awaken to see that a crew from the power company is at work on an electrical transformer across the street. I reason that since I seemed to hear a pop, the transformer must have blown during the night and, therefore, that I did seem to hear a pop last night (Cling 2002, 252).

32 Can a justification-affording argument be epistemically circular? Cling’s argument is not really circular. Cling’s argument is not really circular.

33 Can a justification-affording argument be epistemically circular? Cling’s argument is not really circular. Cling’s argument is not really circular. Justification-enhancing arguments Justification-enhancing arguments

34 Can a justification-affording argument be epistemically circular? Cling’s argument is not really circular. Cling’s argument is not really circular. Justification-enhancing arguments Justification-enhancing argumentsVS Justification-creating arguments Justification-creating arguments

35 What can we learn from this?

36 Criticism of a certain type of formalism in philosophy of science. Criticism of a certain type of formalism in philosophy of science. A better understanding of the problem of the theory-ladenness of our evidence. A better understanding of the problem of the theory-ladenness of our evidence.

37 H

38 O H

39 H O H

40 The idea is that evidence supporting an hypothesis only comes from observational procedures that test that hypothesis, but one necessary condition for a legitimate test is that it be at least possible that the test yield a result that is unfavourable to that hypothesis. But, the argument goes, an observational procedure cannot possibly yield a result that is unfavourable to an hypothesis that is assumed in the design of that procedure and in the analysis of the resulting data (Brown 1994, 408)

41 Kosso’s formal criteria

42 {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments.

43 Kosso’s formal criteria {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. Tx is the theory of the observable object x. Tx is the theory of the observable object x.

44 Kosso’s formal criteria {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. Tx is the theory of the observable object x. Tx is the theory of the observable object x. Tx1 is the part of Tx that could be confirmed by the observation report ‘x is P’. Tx1 is the part of Tx that could be confirmed by the observation report ‘x is P’.

45 Kosso’s formal criteria {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. {Ti} are the theories that can account for the good functioning of our scientific instruments. Tx is the theory of the observable object x. Tx is the theory of the observable object x. Tx1 is the part of Tx that could be confirmed by the observation report ‘x is P’. Tx1 is the part of Tx that could be confirmed by the observation report ‘x is P’. Tx2 is the part of Tx that is also a part of {Ti}. Tx2 is the part of Tx that is also a part of {Ti}.

46 DNA strand observed with an electron microscope

47

48 Suppose that we have some evidence for the existence of atoms, atomics laws and of everything that makes a good electron microscope. Then, after one of our experiments, we come to the conclusion that the best explanation for the images that we produced is that we observed atoms. Therefore, we conclude that there are atoms after all.

49 Brown’s Quasi-Popperian View of Emprical Testing

50 Test A: If we determine the recession speed of a quasar on the basis of its redshift, and that we calculate its redshift with a relativistic formula, then our observations will be biased. Test A: If we determine the recession speed of a quasar on the basis of its redshift, and that we calculate its redshift with a relativistic formula, then our observations will be biased.

51 Brown’s Quasi-Popperian View of Emprical Testing Test A: If we determine the recession speed of a quasar on the basis of its redshift, and that we calculate its redshift with a relativistic formula, then our observations will be biased. Test A: If we determine the recession speed of a quasar on the basis of its redshift, and that we calculate its redshift with a relativistic formula, then our observations will be biased. Test B: If we determine the transversal speed of quasars, then our observations will not suffer from the same bias. Test B: If we determine the transversal speed of quasars, then our observations will not suffer from the same bias.

52 Why worry about theory- dependence? (Adam 2004) Generally speaking, an observation result can be counted as empirical to the extent that it is determined by the observed objects and not merely by the method of observation itself. I will therefore take observation results to lack minimal empiricality if the qualities of the object make no difference at all to the result (Adam 2004, 120). Generally speaking, an observation result can be counted as empirical to the extent that it is determined by the observed objects and not merely by the method of observation itself. I will therefore take observation results to lack minimal empiricality if the qualities of the object make no difference at all to the result (Adam 2004, 120).

53 …because our arguments can beg the question.

54 Logical Equivalence (A3) All men are mortals. All men are mortals.THEREFORE No immortals are men. No immortals are men.

55 The epistemic reliability can come only with disinterest such that the theory describing observability has little or no important stake in the outcome. In this spirit, […], electron optics and electron scattering theories do not rise or fall with the observability of DNA, and so they provide an independent accounting of the flow of DNA information to the observer. We are less willing to call the kind of effect produced in scattering electrons from single nuclei an observation of the atom, not because more physical interaction or more theoretical unpacking is required but because the laws required to unnest the atomic information are atomic laws. It is the kind of nepotism in the accounting which impeaches the information (Kosso 1988, 464).


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