With this defense of intensional realism as a philosophical foundation for understanding scientific procedures and grounding scientific knowledge, James Fetzer provides a systematic alternative to much of recent work on scientific theory. To Fetzer, the current state of understanding the 'laws' of nature, or the 'law-like' statements of scientific theories, appears to be one of philosophical defeat; and he is determined to overcome that defeat. Based upon his incisive advocacy of the single-case propensity interpretation of probability, Fetzer develops a coherent structure within which the central problems of the philosophy of science find their solutions. Whether the reader accepts the author's contentions may, in the end, depend upon ancient choices in the interpretation of experience and explanation, but there can be little doubt of Fetzer's spirited competence in arguing for setting ontology before epistemology, and within the analysis of language. To us, Fetzer's ambition is appealing, fusing, as he says, the substantive commitment of the Popperian with the conscientious sensitivity of the Hempelian to the technical precision required for justified explication.
To Fetzer, science is the objective pursuit of fallible general knowledge. This innocent character- ization, which we suppose most scientists would welcome, receives a most careful elaboration in this book; it will demand equally careful critical con- sideration. Center for the Philosophy and ROBERT S. COHEN History of Science, MARX W. WARTOFSKY Boston University October 1981 v TABLE OF CONTENTS EDITORIAL PREFACE v FOREWORD xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xv PART I: CAUSATION 1.
`...an outstanding success within its genre ... no other approach is currently better positioned to attain Al's theoretical goals, to support its technological aims, or to secure its thorough justification as a genuine science.'
I: Causation.- 1. The Knowledge Context Kzt.- Personal Possibilities.- Minimal Rationality.- Epistemic Possibilities.- 2. The Language Framework:L or L??.- Peirce's Theory of Signs.- The Theoretical Objective.- A Dispositional Ontology.- 3. Syntax. Semantics, and Ontology.- Nomological Conditionals.- A Probabilistic Causal Calculus.- Alternative Interpretations.- II: Explanation.- 4. Statistical Explanation and Statistical Relevance.- Reichenbach's Reference Classes.- Salmon's Statistical Relevance.- Hempel's Maximal Specificity.- 5. A Single Case Theory of Causal Explanation.- "Long Run" Dispositional Concepts.- Alternative "Single Case" Concepts.- A Single-Case Theory of Explanation.- 6. The Dispositional Construction of Theories.- Causal and Non-Causal Explanations.- Theories and Theoretical Explanations.- "Instrumentalism" and Theoretical Realism.- III: Corroboration.- 7. The Justification of Induction.- The Traditional Problem of Induction.- The "Paradoxes" of Confirmation.- A Critique of Hume's Critique.- 8. Confirmation and Corroboration.- Bayesian Conceptions of Confirmation.- Traditional Principles of Induction.- Popperian Procedures of Corroboration.- 9. Acceptance and Rejection Rules.- "Orthodox" Hypothesis Testing.- An Inductive Acceptance Rule.- In Defense of this Conception.- 10. Rationality and Fallibility.- Scientific Rationality.- Personal Probabilities.- Scientific Fallibility.- References.- Index of Names.- Index of Subjects.