Empirical evidence claims are a priori

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This paper responds to Achinstein's criticism of the thesis that the only empirical fact that can affect the truth of an objective evidence claim such as 'e is evidence for h' (or 'e confirms h to degree r') is the truth of e. It shows that cases involving evidential flaws, which form the basis for Achinstein's objections to the thesis, can satisfactorily be accounted for by appeal to changes in background information and working assumptions. The paper also argues that the a priori and empirical accounts of evidence are on a par when we consider scientific practice, but that a study of artificial intelligence might serve to differentiate them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2821-2834
Number of pages14
Issue number14
Early online date17 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
EventThe British Society for the Philosophy of Science Annual Conference 2011 - University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Jul 20118 Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

The same paper is presented at the 2011 Annual Conference of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, Manchester, United Kingdom, 7-8 July 2011.


  • A priori thesis
  • Achinstein
  • Confirmation
  • Evidence
  • Working assumptions

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