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The Likelihood Principle: Objectivity and the Values and Science Debate

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The Likelihood Principle: Objectivity and the Values and Science Debate

Boivin, Sean (2018) The Likelihood Principle: Objectivity and the Values and Science Debate. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the debate of underdetermination in science, and asks the descriptive question: is objectivity possible in science? I introduce the problem of underdetermination in science and articulate a related argument presented by philosopher Helen Longino against the possibility for objectivity (traditionally understood) in science. In opposition to Longino, I aim to salvage the possibility of important objectivity. I begin from Likelihoodism – a normative view about the form that evidential reasoning should take. After presenting different defenses of that view, I show how it implies a descriptive claim – the Likelihood Principle – that opposes Longino’s cynicism about the descriptive possibility of objectivity in science. The Likelihood Principle compares the likelihoods of two hypotheses in relation to a body of evidence and says which hypothesis (if any) is consequently favored. I argue that “favours” be interpreted as “objectively favours”, implying it is possible for some evidence to objectively favour one hypothesis over another without appeal to values. In addition to arguing that we should then infer a descriptive objectivism from this, I interpret a case-study using the Likelihood Principle to illustrate how applications of it can be objective. I discuss what follows for the debate in the values and science literature, including what follows with respect to Longino’s views.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Boivin, Sean
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:1 February 2018
ID Code:983699
Deposited By: SEAN BOIVIN
Deposited On:09 Apr 2018 13:17
Last Modified:09 Apr 2018 13:17
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