Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 10, 1984

Robert J. Levy
Pages 173-188

Conjectures and Rational Preferences

I survey the difficulties of several probabilistic views of non-deductive argument and of inductive probability and propose to explicate non-deductive reasoning in terms of rational preference. Following a critical examination of Popper’s allegedly deductive theory of rational preference, I draw upon the work of Popper and Rescher to present my view which includes: (i) the conjecturing of a set of alternative answers to or theories or hypotheses about the questions prompting the inquiry and (ii) the “reduction” of this set via plausibilistic principles of rational preference.