I argue against indirect confirmation, the thesis that a scientific hypothesis (or a scientific theory) can be confirmed by evidence that does not lie in in the domain of the hypothesis. I start by showing that a recent influential argument for indirect confirmation (Dawid et al. BSPS 2015 66:1) fails. Although I suggest we can still hold on to a restricted version of indirect confirmation, I argue that the restricted version of indirect confirmation collapses into direct confirmation. The moral of this paper is that we must reject indirect confirmation: either indirect confirmation does not work or in so far as it works, it is nothing over and above direct confirmation.
A weekly seminar of visiting speakers, work-in-progress talks, and discussion of recent work in epistemology, for faculty and graduate students. Please email Nick Hughes to be added to the mailing list.
Oxford Epistemology Group Convenor: Nick Hughes