Finnur Dellsén on "A Surprising Epistemic Advantage of Accommodation over Prediction"

We are very pleased to announce that Finnur Dellsén, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland, will deliver a talk for Filosofisk seminar this semester. The seminar is open for everyone, and will be followed by an informal reception.

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Photo: Kristinn Ingvarsson


Many philosophers have argued that a hypothesis is typically better confirmed by data if the hypothesis wasn't specifically designed to fit the data. 'Prediction', they argue, is normally superior to 'accommodation'. Others deny that there is any epistemic advantage to prediction, and conclude that prediction and accommodation are epistemically on a par. This paper argues that, perhaps surprisingly, there is a respect in which accommodation is typically epistemically superior to prediction. Specifically, the fact that the data was accommodated rather than predicted typically suggests that the data is less likely to have been manipulated or fabricated, which in turn increases the likelihood that the hypothesis is true in light of the data. In some cases, this epistemic advantage of accommodation may even outweigh whatever epistemic advantage there might be to prediction, making accommodation epistemically superior to prediction all things considered.

About Finnur Dellsén

Dr. Finnur Dellsén obtained his Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill and was a postdoc at University College Dublin. He currently holds the position of an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland, and he also has a part-time position as associate professor II at Høgskolen i Innlandet. In 2018 he received the semi-annual Lauener Prize for Up-and-Coming Philosophers. In June 2019, he was awarded the Nils Klim Prize for young, nordic scholars in the humanities, social science, law, and theology.

About the seminar series

Philosophical Seminar is a philosophy colloquium series, hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at UiO. The departmental colloquium has previously hosted renowned philosophers such as Charles Taylor, Peter Railton, Galen Strawson, Julia Annas, Martin Kusch, Stephen Darwall, Berit Brogaard, John Sallis, Robert B. Pippin, Serena Parekh, Laurie Paul and Pavel Gregoric.

The colloquia are open to everyone and followed by an open and informal reception on the third floor in the same building. Students are especially encouraged to attend, and all participants are invited to the reception afterwards.

Published Aug. 29, 2019 5:19 PM - Last modified Sep. 10, 2019 1:41 PM