The Foundations of Scientific Inference: 50th Anniversary Edition

The Foundations of Scientific Inference: 50th Anniversary Edition

by Wesley C. Salmon

Paperback(Special edition, New Introduction)

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After its publication in 1967, The Foundations of Scientific Inference taught a generation of students and researchers about the problem of induction, the interpretation of probability, and confirmation theory. Fifty years later, Wesley C. Salmon’s book remains one of the clearest introductions to these fundamental problems in the philosophy of science. With The Foundations of Scientific Inference, Salmon presented a coherent vision of the nature of scientific reasoning, explored the philosophical underpinnings of scientific investigation, and introduced readers to key movements in epistemology and to leading philosophers of the twentieth century—such as Karl Popper, Rudolf Carnap, and Hans Reichenbach—offering a critical assessment and developing his own distinctive views on topics that are still of central importance today.
            This anniversary edition of Salmon’s foundational work in the philosophy of science features a detailed introduction by Christopher Hitchcock, which examines the book’s origins, influences, and major themes, its impact and enduring effects, the disputes it raised, and its place in current studies, revisiting Salmon’s ideas for a new audience of philosophers, historians, scientists, and students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822964568
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 06/16/2017
Edition description: Special edition, New Introduction
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Wesley C. Salmon (1925-2001) was University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, past president of the Philosophy of Science Association, and the author of numerous books, including Four Decades of Scientific Explanation; Space, Time, and Motion: A Philosophical Introduction; and Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.

Table of Contents

Introductory Essay Christopher Hitchcock ix

Introduction 1

I The Problem of Induction 5

II Attempted Solutions 11

1 Inductive Justification 12

2 The Complexity of Scientific Inference 17

3 Deductivism 21

4 Synthetic A Priori Principles 27

5 The Principle of Uniformity of Nature 40

6 The Postulational Approach 43

7 A Probabilistic Approach 48

8 Pragmatic Justification 52

III Significance of the Problem 54

IV The Philosophical Problem of Probability 56

1 The Probability Calculus 58

2 Criteria of Adequacy for Interpretations 63

V Interpretations of Probability 65

1 The Classical Interpretation 65

2 The Subjective Interpretation 68

3 The Logical Interpretation 68

4 The Personalistic Interpretation 79

5 The Frequency Interpretation 83

VI Inferring Relative Frequencies 96

VII The Confirmation of Scientific Hypotheses 108

1 Hanson's Logic of Discovery 111

2 Popper's Method of Corroboration 114

3 Bayesian Inference 115

Conclusion 131

Notes 132

Addendum 142

Index 145

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