Colloquium du DEC

Explanation and Inference

I.E.J. Douven (University of Groningen)
Informations pratiques
23 septembre 2014


In my talk, I present two new results regarding the so-called Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). The first result comes from a comparison of IBE with Bayes' rule in a social setting, specifically, in the context of a variant of the Hegselmann-Krause model in which agents do not only update their belief states on the basis of evidence they receive directly from the world but also take into account the belief states of some of their fellow agents. So far, IBE and Bayes' rule have been studied only in an individualistic setting, and it is known that, in such a setting, both have their strengths as well as their weaknesses. I will show that in a social setting, IBE outperforms Bayes' rule according to every desirable criterion. The second result concerns the descriptive adequacy of IBE. Experimental results are presented which show that people indeed attend to explanatory considerations in updating their degrees of belief.