Tuesday, March 6, 2012

[HIST 2297] Inference to the Best Explanation

For a while, the following ads for Jameson Whiskey appeared in New York subway trains:

In the ad, deliberately ridiculous explanations, such as those in the picture above, were given for why people drink Jameson. For example:
  • People drink Jameson because the ads give tourists a place to look, so the guy in the map seat can get a break.
  • People drink Jameson because there are nine wrong ways to swipe your card, but no wrong way to enjoy a Jameson.
  • People drink Jameson because they like to share; not like that guy taking up two seats.
  • People drink Jameson because Jameson would go really well with that song playing in your headphones.
  • People drink Jameson because “Next round on me” is easier to understand than “stanclearclosindoor.” 
Then, one of the ads said "It could just be the taste."

These ads can be construed as an inference to the best explanation as follows:
  1. People drink Jameson.
  2. The best explanation for (1) is that Jameson tastes good.
  3. No other explanation explains (1) as well as good taste does.
  4. Therefore, (probably) Jameson tastes good. 
What makes the good taste explanation better than the alternative explanations listed above?

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is an academic blog about critical thinking, logic, and philosophy. So please refrain from making insulting, disparaging, and otherwise inappropriate comments. Also, if I publish your comment, that does not mean I agree with it. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.