Inferring and Explaining
Free

Inferring and Explaining

By Jeffery L. Johnson
Free
Book Description
Table of Contents
  • Cover Page
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Contents
  • Preface
    • Practical Epistemology
    • Critical Thinking
    • To My Student Readers
    • To My Fellow Philosophy Instructors
    • Two Further Debts
    • Notes
  • Chapter One. Valuing Truth
    • A Lofty Goal and a Practical Goal
    • The Skills and Values You Already Have
    • Truth and the Contemporary Academic Culture
    • Truth and the Popular Culture: The Need to Respect Differences
    • Truth and the Popular Culture: “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts”
    • A Plea for Critical Thinking
    • Exercises
    • Quiz One
    • Notes
  • Chapter Two. Skepticism
    • Descartes and the Arena of Reason
    • Confidence-Undermining Possibilities
    • Dreaming and the External World
    • The Evil Computer Scientist
    • Can I Know Anything?
    • The Quest for Certainty
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Two
    • Notes
  • Chapter Three. The Concept of Knowledge
    • Definitions and Word Games
    • The Myth of Definition
    • The Need for Conceptual Clarity
    • Knowledge and Belief
    • The Search for the Truth
    • Epistemic Justification
    • What Does It Take to Be Justified?
    • An Unsolved Problem
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Three
    • Notes
  • Chapter Four. Arguments
    • The Importance of Arguments
    • What Is an Argument?
    • Logical Connection
    • Inference to the Best Explanation
    • A Couple of Arguments from Sherlock Holmes
    • Schematizing the Argument
    • Start at the Bottom (Find the Conclusion)
    • Find the Relevant Evidence
    • Another Brokenhearted Teenager
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Four
    • Notes
  • Chapter Five. Inference to the Best Explanation
    • Inference to the Best Explanation
    • Schematizing Connie’s Argument
    • Rival Explanations (of Connie’s Data)
    • Rank Ordering Explanations (for Connie’s Argument)
    • Assessment of (Connie’s) Evidence
    • What about Ties?
    • The Origins of Natural Language
    • The Argument Schematized
    • Rival Explanations (of Pinker and Bloom’s Data)
    • Ideal Agnostics
    • Rank Ordering the Explanations (for Pinker and Bloom’s Argument)
    • Disagreements
    • Don’t Forget about the Final Assessment of the Evidence!
    • A Magical Encore?
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Five
    • Notes
  • Chapter Six. New Data and Experimentation
    • The Crazy Philosopher’s Evidence
    • Why Don’t You Just Test It?
    • A Pretty Picture of Science
    • A Better, But Untidy, Picture of Scientific Disconfirmation
    • A Better, But Untidy, Picture of Scientific Confirmation
    • The Significance of New Data
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Six
    • Notes
  • Chapter Seven. Semmelweis and Childbed Fever: A Case Study
    • Childbed Fever
    • Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis
    • The Vienna General Hospital
    • What Was Then Known
    • Differences in the Divisions
    • “Fortuitous” New Data
    • An Experiment and a Treatment
    • Semmelweis’s Evidence
    • The Tragedy of Semmelweis
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Seven
    • Notes
  • Chapter Eight. Darwin and Common Descent
    • Making Sense of What Is Already Known
    • The Two Theories
    • Rival Explanations to Common Descent
    • The Expanded Age of the Earth
    • The Fossil Record
    • The Scala Naturae, or the Natural System
    • Patterns of Geographical Distribution
    • Morphological Facts
    • Embryological Facts
    • Darwin’s Evidence for Descent with Modification
    • Natural Selection
    • One Long Argument
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Eight
    • Notes
  • Chapter Nine. Testimony
    • A Letter of Recommendation
    • Testimony regarding Miracles
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Nine
    • Notes
  • Chapter Ten. Textual Interpretation
    • Sounds, Shapes, Gestures, and Dashes and Dots
    • Inference to the Best Explanation and Textual Interpretation
    • Authorial Intention
    • A Notorious Interpretation of Hamlet
    • A Contemporary Psychological Interpretation of Hamlet
    • Exercises and Quiz Ten
    • Notes
  • Chapter Eleven. Statistics: Making Sense of the Numbers
    • What Numbers Can Tell Us
    • Samples and Populations
    • Couldn’t It Just Be a Fluke?
    • Couldn’t the Sample Be Biased?
    • Naomi Oreskes’s Study
    • Rival Explanations of the Sample
    • The Best Explanation?
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Eleven
    • Notes
  • Chapter Twelve. Correlations and Causes
    • Correlations
    • Explaining the Numbers
    • Explaining the Correlations
    • CO2 and Global Temperatures
    • Causation and Explanation
    • A Sad Story
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Twelve
    • Notes
  • Chapter Thirteen. Capital Punishment and the Constitution
    • Arguments from Pure Principle: For and against the Death Penalty
    • Constitutional Texts
    • Precedent
    • Inference to the Best Constitutional Interpretation
    • Some Key Constitutional Text
    • Some Key Constitutional Precedent
    • Statistics and the Death Penalty
    • A Causal Explanation of the Correlation
    • Some Other Contingent Realities
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Thirteen
    • Notes
  • Chapter Fourteen. Evidence, Explanation, and Narrative
    • Legal Storytelling
    • O. J. Simpson
    • Abe and His Daughter
    • Stories That Make Sense of Things
    • Mary Ann and Wanda
    • Geneva and Brown v. Board of Education
    • Fabula and Sjuzet
    • Inference to the Best Narrative
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Fourteen
    • Notes
  • Chapter Fifteen. Explanatory Virtue and Truth
    • Two Huge Problems
    • Literary Darwinism
    • Sally and Ann
    • Disagreement
    • Truth
    • Exercises
    • Quiz Fifteen
    • Notes
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