Cover image for Statistical explanation & statistical relevance
Statistical explanation & statistical relevance
Salmon, Wesley C.
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Publication Information:
[Pittsburgh] : University of Pittsburgh Press [1971]
Physical Description:
ix, 117 pages ; 23 cm.
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Q175 .S2342 Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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According to modern physics, many objectively improbable events actually occur, such as the spontaneous disintegration of radioactive atoms. Because of high levels of improbability, scientists are often at a loss to explain such phenomena. In this main essay of this book, Wesley Salmon offers a solution to scientific explanation based on the concept of statistical relevance (the S-R model). In this vein, the other two essays herein discuss "Statistical Relevance vs. Statistical Inference," and "Explanation and Information."

Author Notes

Born in Detroit, Michigan, the philosopher of science Wesley Charles Salmon received his M.A. from the University of Chicago, where he studied theology and metaphysics. He then shifted his interest to the philosophy of science at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he studied under Hans Reichenbach. After receiving his Ph.D. at UCLA in 1950, Salmon became an instructor at Washington State University, followed by appointments at Northwestern, Brown, and Indiana universities. From 1973 to 1981 he served on the faculty of the University of Arizona and then became professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Noted for his contributions to the philosophy of inductive inference, Salmon focused on causality and scientific explanation. His 1966 essay The Foundations of Scientific Inference offered a concise treatise on the problem of induction, its historical roots, and modern approaches to its solution. Later study and writings continued his efforts to strengthen locial empiricism in scientific thought. Salmon's fullest statement of his theory of inductive inference is found in Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World (1984). (Bowker Author Biography)