Explanatory coherence

  title={Explanatory coherence},
  author={Paul Thagard},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={435 - 467}
  • P. Thagard
  • Published 1 September 1989
  • Philosophy
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Abstract This target article presents a new computational theory of explanatory coherence that applies to the acceptance and rejection of scientific hypotheses as well as to reasoning in everyday life. The theory consists of seven principles that establish relations of local coherence between a hypothesis and other propositions. A hypothesis coheres with propositions that it explains, or that explain it, or that participate with it in explaining other propositions, or that offer analogous… 
The Psychological Fidelity of ECHO : Modeling an Experimental Study of Explanatory Coherence
The problem of evaluating explanatory hypotheses is to choose the hypothesis or theory that best accounts for, or explains, the given evidence. Thagard (e.g., 1989) and Ranney (in press; Ranney &
Explanatory coherence in social explanations : a parallel distributed processing account
This article studies the impact of explanatory coherence on the evaluation of explanations. Tested were 4 principles of P. Thagard's (1989) model for evaluating the coherence of explanations. Study I
Inference to the Best Explanation
While Chap. 6 discussed the role of abduction in the confirmation of hypotheses by their success in explanation and prediction, in this chapter we turn to the notion acceptance which is a stronger
Coherence and (Likeness to) Truth
It is demonstrated that there is an intimate relationship in this sense if the authors explicate coherence by means of the so-called overlap-measure and whether coherence implies verisimilitude in the sense that a higher degree of coherence between theory and evidence entails a higher level of truthlikeness.
Coherence of Laws
This work proposes a new approach to evaluating rival theories that is neutral with respect to the philosophy and practice of science, and is able to explain notions like modularization using coherence.
Explanatory Value and Probabilistic Reasoning: An Empirical Study
The relation between probabilistic and explanatory reasoning is a classical topic in philosophy of science. Most philosophical analyses are concerned with the compatibility of Inference to the Best
Mental models and probabilistic thinking
The Need to Explain
The hypothesis predicts that individuals should spontaneously create explanations of inconsistencies rather than refute one of the assertions and that they should rate explanations as more probable than refutations.
Use of current explanations in multicausal abductive reasoning
The redux of cognitive consistency theories: evidence judgments by constraint satisfaction.
The authors suggest that decisions made from multiple pieces of evidence are performed through mechanisms of parallel constraint satisfaction, which are related to cognitive consistency theories, which should play a greater role in the understanding of human reasoning and decision making.


The coherence theory of truth
The third well-known theory of truth is the coherence theory which is absolutely irreconcileable with ours, since it holds that the truth of a belief that A is B depends not on whether A is B, but on
Can human irrationality be experimentally demonstrated?
  • L. Cohen
  • Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1981
Abstract The object of this paper is to show why recent research in the psychology of deductive and probabilistic reasoning does not have "bleak implications for human rationality," as has sometimes
A Mechanism for Forming Composite Explanatory Hypotheses
A general problem-solving mechanism is described that is especially suited for performing a particular form of abductive inference, or best explanation finding. A problem solver embodying this
Analogical Mapping by Constraint Satisfaction
A theory of analogical mapping between source and target analogs based upon interacting structural, semantic, and pragmatic constraints is proposed here and is able to account for empirical findings regarding the impact of consistency and similarity on human processing of analogies.
Cohen on Inductive Probability and the Law of Evidence
L. Jonathan Cohen has written a number of important books and articles in which he argues that mathematical probability provides a poor model of much of what paradigmatically passes for sound
Confirmation, Disconfirmation, and Informa-tion in Hypothesis Testing
Strategies for hypothesis testing in scientific investigation and everyday reasoning have interested both psychologists and philosophers. A number of these scholars stress the importance of
Literal Meaning and Psychological Theory
  • R. Gibbs
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Cogn. Sci.
  • 1984
It is suggested that the distinctions between literal and metaphoric meanings, and between semantics and pragmatics, have little psychological validity.
Two Dogmas of Methodology
For a very long time, much work in the philosophy of science has been predicated on the existence of two crucial dependences. The first assumed dependence is between cognitive progress or growth, on
Interpretation as Abduction
An approach to abductive inference, called “weighted abduction”, that has resulted in a significant simplification of how the problem of interpreting texts is conceptualized, can be combined with the older view of “parsing as deduction” to produce an elegant and thorough integration of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
Fusion, Propagation, and Structuring in Belief Networks
  • J. Pearl
  • Computer Science
    Artif. Intell.
  • 1986
It is shown that if the network is singly connected (e.g. tree-structured), then probabilities can be updated by local propagation in an isomorphic network of parallel and autonomous processors and that the impact of new information can be imparted to all propositions in time proportional to the longest path in the network.