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ERIC Number: EJ1082165
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) versus Explaining for the Best Inference (EBI)
Wilkenfeld, Daniel A.; Lombrozo, Tania
Science & Education, v24 n9 p1059-1077 Nov 2015
In pedagogical contexts and in everyday life, we often come to believe something because it would best explain the data. What is it about the explanatory endeavor that makes it essential to everyday learning and to scientific progress? There are at least two plausible answers. On one view, there is something special about having true "explanations." This view is highly intuitive: it's clear why true explanations might improve one's epistemic position. However, there is another possibility--it could be that the "process" of seeking, generating, or evaluating explanations itself puts one in a better epistemic position, even when the outcome of the process is not a true explanation. In other words, it could be that "accurate explanations" are beneficial, or it could be that high-quality "explaining" is beneficial, where there is something about the "activity" of looking for an explanation that improves our epistemic standing. The main goal of this paper is to tease apart these two possibilities, both theoretically and empirically, which we align with "Inference to the Best Explanation" (IBE) and "Explaining for the Best Inference" (EBI), respectively. We also provide some initial support for EBI and identify promising directions for future research.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A