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Analogies and TheoriesFormal Models of Reasoning$
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Itzhak Gilboa, Larry Samuelson, and David Schmeidler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738022.001.0001

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Subjectivity in Inductive Inference

Subjectivity in Inductive Inference

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Subjectivity in Inductive Inference
Source:
Analogies and Theories
Author(s):

Itzhak Gilboa

Larry Samuelson

David Schmeidler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738022.003.0003

Inductive inference is the art of selecting theories based on observations. A fundamental principle is that one should only consider theories that have not been refuted by the data. But how should people choose among the theories that best match the data? People often bring subjective criteria to bear in making this choice, selecting theories that seem a priori reasonable, intuitive, simple, elegant, familiar, or that satisfy a variety of other considerations. This chapter explains how and why subjective criteria are essential to effective reasoning. It concludes that inference cannot effectively be based on objective arguments alone—simply observing that one theory fits the data better than another is not sufficient to prefer the former to the latter. Instead, one must also argue that the candidate theory fares well in terms of consistently applied subjective auxiliary criteria.

Keywords:   subjective reasoning, inductive inference, theory selection, model selection, observations

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