Igor DouvenAug 10, 2022
The Art of Abduction
MIT Press 2022
How should we form new beliefs? In particular, what inferential strategies are epistemically justified for forming new beliefs? Nowadays the dominant theory is Bayesianism, whereby we ought to reason in accordance with Bayes’s rule based in the axioms of probability theory. In The Art of Abduction (The MIT Press, 2022), Igor Douven defends the alternative Inference to the Best Explanation (abduction), in which explanatory considerations play an essential role in determining what we should come to believe. Douven, who is research professor at CNRS, lays out and responds to traditional arguments against abduction and shows how abduction can be a better reasoning strategy than Bayesianism in many contexts. He also considers how abduction fares in the context of social epistemology, and provides an answer to the traditional problem of skepticism about the existence of an external world.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.