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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 4, 1978

Helen E. Longino
Pages 17-26

Inferring

This paper is a discussion of the nature of inferring and focusses on the relation between reasons for belief and causes of belief. Two standard approaches to the analysis of inference, the epistemological and the psychological, are identified and discussed. While both approaches incorporate insights concerning, inference, counterexamples show that neither provides by itself an adequate account. A third account is developed and recommended on the grounds that it encompasses the essential insights of the rejected analyses while being immune to their counterexamples. On this account coming to believe for a reason is taken to be central to our concept of inferring, but a causal relation holds between taking something to be a reason and belief.