Phil/Psych 447

Office hours (HH368): M 1:00-2:00; F 12:30-1:30, and by appointment.

Seminar in Cognitive Science

Week 2: Evidence & Faith

The Method of Inference to the Best Explanation

Inference as explanatory coherence

Explanation as mechanisms

Alternatives to Inference to the Best Explanation

Empricism: don't go beyond sense experience

Rationalism: use reason alone

Hypothetico-deductive method (confirmation theory)

Bayesian inference: stick to probabilities


What is faith?

How can it be defended?

Does science make belief in God obsolete? (Templeton)

Philosophical Alternatives to Naturalism

Are there a priori truths?

What about conceptual clarification?

Discussion Questions

  1. Can science and religion be compatible with each other?
  2. Is inference to the best explanation a legitimate form of reasoning?
  3. How does scientific reasoning differ from everyday inference?
  4. How should people make medical decisions?
  5. How would religious believers respond to criticisms of faith?
  6. Does inference to the best explanation justify belief in God?
  7. What role should thought experiments play in science and philosophy?
  8. Is philosophy concerned with conceptual analysis?

Phil/Psych 447

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Sept.22, 2008