Category: Inference to the Best Explanation

Routledge: 1993.

Inference to the Best Explanation

According to the model of Inference to the Best Explanation, our explanatory practices guide our inferences. Beginning with the evidence available to us, we infer what would, if true, provide the best explanation of that evidence. This cannot be the whole story about inference, but many of our inferences, both in science and in ordinary life, appear to follow this pattern. Faced with tracks in the snow of a certain peculiar shape, I infer that a person on snowshoes has recently passed this way. There are other possibilities, but I make this inference because it provides the best explanation of what I see. [1]