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Means-Ends Epistemology

Oliver Schulte
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 1-31
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40072205
Page Count: 31
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Means-Ends Epistemology
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Abstract

This paper describes the corner-stones of a means-ends approach to the philosophy of inductive inference. I begin with a fallibilist ideal of convergence to the truth in the long run, or in the 'limit of inquiry'. I determine which methods are optimal for attaining additional epistemic aims (notably fast and steady convergence to the truth). Means-ends vindications of (a version of) Occam's Razor and the natural generalizations in a Goodmanian Riddle of Induction illustrate the power of this approach. The paper establishes a hierarchy of means-ends notions of empirical success, and discusses a number of issues, results and applications of means-ends epistemology.

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