Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Logic of Reliable Inquiry

The Logic of Reliable Inquiry

5.0 1
by Kevin T. Kelly

ISBN-10: 0195091957

ISBN-13: 9780195091953

Pub. Date: 06/28/1997

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

There are many proposed aims for scientific inquiry—to explain or predict events, to confirm or falsify hypotheses, or to find hypotheses that cohere with our other beliefs in some logical or probabilistic sense. This book is devoted to a different proposal—that the logical structure of the scientist's method should guarantee eventual arrival at the truth


There are many proposed aims for scientific inquiry—to explain or predict events, to confirm or falsify hypotheses, or to find hypotheses that cohere with our other beliefs in some logical or probabilistic sense. This book is devoted to a different proposal—that the logical structure of the scientist's method should guarantee eventual arrival at the truth given the scientist's background assumptions. Interest in this methodological property, called "logical reliability," stems from formal learning theory, which draws its insights not from the theory of probability, but from the theory of computability. Kelly first offers an accessible explanation of formal learning theory, then goes on to develop and explore a systematic framework in which various standard learning theoretic results can be seen as special cases of simpler and more general considerations. This approach answers such important questions as whether there are computable methods more reliable than Bayesian updating or Popper's method of conjectures and refutations. Finally, Kelly clarifies the relationship between the resulting framework and other standard issues in the philosophy of science, such as probability, causation, and relativism. His work is a major contribution to the literature and will be essential reading for scientists, logicians, and philosophers

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Logic and Computation in Philosophy Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.14(d)
1440L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

2.Reliable Inquiry11
1.Background Assumptions11
2.Methods and Data Streams11
3.Data Protocols14
4.Truth and Global Underdetermination16
5.The Philosophy of Global Underdetermination19
6.The Philosophy of Local Underdetermination24
7.Scientific Realism, Probability, and Subjunctives30
8.The Logic of Reliable Inquiry35
3.The Demons of Passive Observation38
2.Decidability with a Deadline42
3.Decidability, Verifiability, and Refutability with Certainty48
4.Verification, Refutation, and Decision in the Limit51
5.Decision with n Mind Changes64
6.Gradual Verification, Refutation, and Decision66
7.Optimal Background Assumptions69
4.Topology and Ideal Hypothesis Assessment74
2.Basic Topological Concepts74
3.The Baire Space78
4.Restricted Topological Spaces83
5.A Characterization of Bounded Sample Decidability83
6.Characterizations of Certain Assessment85
7.Characterizations of Limiting Assessment88
8.Efficient Data Use96
9.A Characterization of n-Mind-Change Decidability103
10.A Demon-Oriented Characterization of n-Mind-Change Decidability108
11.Characterizations of Gradual Assessment113
12.The Levels of Underdetermination115
5.Reducibility and the Game of Science121
2.Ideal Inductive Methods as Continuous Operators on the Baire Space122
3.Assessment as Reduction124
4.Ideal Transcendental Deductions as Cnt-Completeness Theorems127
5.Inductive Demons as Continuous Counterreductions128
6.Science as a Limiting Game130
6.The Demons of Computability138
2.Church Meets Hume138
3.Programs as Reliable Methods140
4.The Arithmetical Hierarchy143
5.Uncomputability and Diagonalization144
6.The Demons of Uncomputability146
7.Some Disanalogies155
7.Computers in Search of the Truth158
1.Ideal Epistemology and Computability158
2.Computation as Internalized Inductive Inquiry160
3.The Arithmetical Hierarchy over the Baire Space162
4.Universal Relations and Hierarchy Theorems165
5.Characterization Theorems169
6.Data-Minimal Computable Methods173
7.The Empirical Irony of Cognitive Science175
8.The Computable Assessment of Uncomputable Theories176
9.Ideal Norms and Computational Disasters183
10.Computable Inquiry186
8.So Much Time, Such Little Brains190
2.Finite State Automata191
3.Regular Sets193
4.Scientific Automata194
5.Scientific Automata and Certainty194
6.Scientific Automata in the Limit195
7.Limiting Regular Expressions203
9.The Inductive Power of Indeterminism208
10.Primitive Recursion212
11.The Empirical Irony of Cognitive Science Revisited214
9.The Logic of Ideal Discovery217
2.Basic Definitions219
3.Assessment as Discovery222
4.Conjectures and Refutations222
5.A Complete Architecture for Discovery226
6.Data-Minimal Limiting Discovery230
7.Discovery with Bounded Mind Changes233
8.A Characterization of Almost Stable Identification in the Limit234
9.Unstable Identification in the Limit240
10.Gradual Identification241
10.Computerized Discovery246
2.Computable Hypothesis Enumerations246
4.Function Identification253
5.Cognitive Science Revisited258
2.Ideal Extrapolation260
3.Computable Extrapolation262
12.Inquiry Concerning First-Order Theories269
2.Logical Hypothesis Assessment from Complete, True Data270
3.Truth and Underdetermination272
4.Quantifier Prefix Complexity273
5.An Example274
6.Data Complexity276
7.Theories and Axiomatizations287
8.Theory Discovery292
9.Discovery and Vocabulary296
13.Probability and Reliability302
3.Probabilistic Reliability317
4.Countable Additivity321
5.Probabilistic Reliability without Countable Additivity327
6.Probabilistic Mathematics and Nonprobabilistic Science330
7.Probabilistic Theories333
9.Proofs of Propositions 13.18 and 13.20338
14.Experiment and Causal Inference347
3.Causation and Manipulation352
4.Variable Causation358
5.Experimental Methods362
6.The Course of Experimental Inquiry363
7.Hypothesis Correctness and Background Knowledge364
8.Experimental Reliability365
9.Dreaming and the Principle of Plenitude366
10.Weakened Assumptions and Global Underdetermination371
15.Relativism and Reliability376
2.Relativism, Truth, and Interpersonal Agreement380
3.Relativistic Reliabilism383
4.Functional vs. Metaphysical Relativism385
5.Causal vs. Semantic Relativism386
6.Acts, Scientists, and Worlds-in-Themselves387
7.Transcendental Background Knowledge389
8.The Course of Relativistic Inquiry389
9.Relativistic Hypothesis Assessment390
10.Relativistic Hypothesis Assessment as Nonrelativistic Discovery392
11.Relativistic Theory Discovery393
12.Whiggish Relativism396
16.Closing Conversation398
Index of Symbols432

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Logic of Reliable Inquiry 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent, modern overview of the scientific method, emphasing issues and concepts from cognitive and computer science. Some parts are a bit technical, but wonderful cartoons help to make the thread of the discussion accessible.