By Peter Duren

ISBN-10: 0821801368

ISBN-13: 9780821801369

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Extra info for A Century of Mathematics in America (History of Mathematics, Vol 3)

Sample text

If it is, then I believe that e is probably veridical evidence that h, and hence that h is probably true. The numbers here are not sufficiently compelling for me simply to believe that h is true. Suppose that someone believes that e is potential evidence that h but does not believe that e is veridical evidence. Could e be that person's evidence that h? ) Suppose that on Monday the doctor believes that the fact that Sam has those spots is both potential and veridical evidence that he has the measles virus.

Is it veridical? The crucial test here is whether the results reported in e provide a good reason to believe h, and whether they do so in a sense that requires h to be true. At least this much can be said. Physicists from Thomson to the present believe that cathode rays are negatively charged. Moreover, they regard the fact that cathode rays are deflected by electric and magnetic fields as establishing that cathode rays are electrically charged, and the fact that they are electrically deflected toward the positive anode as establishing that they are negatively charged.

Claim 1 should be obvious. The first part says that whatever is veridical evidence is also potential evidence. This is based on the idea, noted at the end of section 8. that if e provides a good reason to believe h in a sense that requires h's truth, then it also provides a good reason in a sense that does not require h's Concepts of Evidence, or How the Electron Got Its Charge 31 truth. As for the second part of claim 1, since potential evidence does not require the truth of the hypothesis, but veridical evidence does, something could be potential evidence for a hypothesis without being veridical evidence for it.

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A Century of Mathematics in America (History of Mathematics, Vol 3) by Peter Duren


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