Ideas from 'Coherence: The Price is Right' by Paul Thagard [2012], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Southern Journal of Philosophy' (ed/tr -) [- ,]].

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas

2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 6. Coherence
Coherence problems have positive and negative restraints; solutions maximise constraint satisfaction
                        Full Idea: A coherence problem is a set of elements connected by positive and negative restraints, and a solution consists of partitioning the elements into two sets (accepted and rejected) in a way that maximises satisfaction of the constraints.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.42)
                        A reaction: I'm enthusiastic about this, as it begins to clarify the central activity of epistemology, which is the quest for best explanations.
Coherence is explanatory, deductive, conceptual, analogical, perceptual, and deliberative
                        Full Idea: I propose that there are six main kinds of coherence: explanatory, deductive, conceptual, analogical, perceptual, and deliberative. ...Epistemic coherence is a combination of the first five kinds, and ethics adds the sixth.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.43)
                        A reaction: Wonderful. Someone is getting to grips with the concept of coherence, instead of just whingeing about how vague it is.
Explanatory coherence needs symmetry,explanation,analogy,data priority, contradiction,competition,acceptance
                        Full Idea: Informally, a theory of explanatory coherence has the principles of symmetry, explanation, analogy, data priority, contradiction, competition and acceptance.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.44)
                        A reaction: [Thagard give a concise summary of his theory here] Again Thagard makes a wonderful contribution in an area where most thinkers are pessimistic about making any progress. His principles are very plausible.
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 6. Verisimilitude
Verisimilitude comes from including more phenomena, and revealing what underlies
                        Full Idea: A scientific theory is progressively approximating the truth if it increases its explanatory coherence by broadening to more phenomena and deepening by investigating layers of mechanisms.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.46)
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Neither a priori rationalism nor sense data empiricism account for scientific knowledge
                        Full Idea: Both rationalists (who start with a priori truths and make deductions) and empiricists (starting with indubitable sense data and what follows) would guarantee truth, but neither even begins to account for scientific knowledge.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.46)
                        A reaction: Thagard's answer, and mine, is inference to the best explanation, but goes beyond both the a priori truths and the perceptions.
14. Science / C. Induction / 6. Bayes's Theorem
Bayesian inference is forced to rely on approximations
                        Full Idea: It is well known that the general problem with Bayesian inference is that it is computationally intractable, so the algorithms used for computing posterior probabilities have to be approximations.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.45)
                        A reaction: Thagard makes this sound devastating, but then concedes that all theories have to rely on approximations, so I haven't quite grasped this idea. He gives references.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
The best theory has the highest subjective (Bayesian) probability?
                        Full Idea: On the Bayesian view, the best theory is the one with the highest subjective probability, given the evidence as calculated by Bayes's theorem.
                        From: Paul Thagard (Coherence: The Price is Right [2012], p.45)