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Non-Inductive Explication of Two Inductive Intuitions

Theo A. F. Kuipers
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 209-223
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/687320
Page Count: 15
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Non-Inductive Explication of Two Inductive Intuitions
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Abstract

The 'inductive' intuitions of diminishing returns from repeated tests and of the superiority of new tests, compared with mere repetitions, are explained and proved to be justified, in the context of so-called probabilistic testing, in a non-inductive way. The core of the explication of diminishing returns is the notion of prior marginal severity of a test, defined as the a priori probability that it will produce the first counter-example. The superiority of new tests, i.e. a new test is more severe than a mere repetition, is shown on the basis of an urn model, reflecting the distinction between new tests and mere repetitions in a probabilistic context. It turns out that both intuitions need some qualifications, among which the most important one is the hypothetical assumption that the theory is false. Some remarks are made about treating real scientific testing as probabilistic testing.

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