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    Inferring and Explaining

    (2 reviews)

    Jeffery L. Johnson, Portland State University

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    Publisher: Portland State University Library

    Language: English

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    CC BY


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    Reviewed by Lauren Ashwell, Associate Profesor, Bates College on 3/12/20

    The book does not pretend to cover all areas of epistemology, but is an opinionated introduction to epistemology through consideration of Inference to the Best Explanation. I think this is comprehensive enough for most introductory courses, or... read more

    Reviewed by Gregory VanWagenen, Faculty, Linn-Benton Community College on 1/11/20

    I suppose there are a number of things that I’d like to see in an introductory epistemology textbook. A discussion about perception, and a direct contrast between inference and perception, and the importance of sense-data to the concept of... read more

    Table of Contents

    • Chapter 1: Valuing Truth
    • Chapter 2: Skepticism
    • Chapter 3: The Concept of Knowledge
    • Chapter 4: Arguments
    • Chapter 5: Inference to the Best Explanation
    • Chapter 6: New Data and Experimentation
    • Chapter 7: Semmelweis and Childbed Fever
    • Chapter 8: Darwin and Common Descent
    • Chapter 9: Testimony
    • Chapter 10: Textual Interpretation
    • Chapter 11: Statistics
    • Chapter 12: Correlations and Causes
    • Chapter 13: Capital Punishment and the Constitution
    • Chapter 14: Evidence, Explanation, and Narrative
    • Chapter 15: Explanatory Virtue and Truth

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    About the Book

    Inferring and Explaining is a book in practical epistemology. It examines the notion of evidence and assumes that good evidence is the essence of rational thinking. Evidence is the cornerstone of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. But it is equally central to almost all academic pursuits and, perhaps most importantly, to the basic need to live an intelligent and reflective life.

    The book further assumes that a particular model of evidence— Inference to the Best Explanation—not only captures the essence of (good) evidence but suggests a very practical, and pedagogically useful, procedure for evidence evaluation. The book is intended primarily for two sorts of introductory courses. First and foremost are courses in critical thinking (or informal or practical logic). In addition, however, the book has application in more general courses (or major sections of courses) in introductory philosophy.

    About the Contributors


    Jeffery L. Johnson, Portland State University

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