Talk: Is Prediction Symptomatic of Theoretical Virtues?, by Lee Wang Yen (5 October 2010)

Philosophy Seminar Series: 5 October 2010, 2-3:45pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Lee Wang Yen , Post-doctoral Fellow, Nanyang Technological University; Moderator: Dr. Tang Weng Hong

Abstract: Christopher Hitchcock and Elliot Sober defend ‘weak predictivism’ according to which prediction is only symptomatic of other virtues possessed by a theory which make it epistemically superior. Prediction is thus not intrinsically superior to accommodation, i.e. fitting a theory with its available data. They contend that an accommodating theory has a statistical tendency to fit its data in such a way that even observational errors are included (‘overfitting’). Their argument for weak predictivism¬†crucially depends on two likelihood inequalities. Without challenging the truth of either inequality, I first argue that the second inequality does not support weak predictivism on a more plausible assumption. Without relying on the preceding argument, I argue further that the second inequality is irrelevant.

Wang YenAbout the Speaker: Wang-Yen Lee is a postdoctoral fellow at NTU and a former postdoctoral fellow at NUS (2008-10). He has a PhD in philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. He is working on a monograph on an objective Bayesian account of probabilistic inference, and is interested in philosophy of science, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. He has published some journal articles in philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, and epistemology.

More information on the Philosophy Seminar Series can be found here. A list of past talks in the series can be found here.

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