Commonly acknowledged criteria for inference to the best explanation

1. Explanatory scope. The best hypothesis will explain a wider range of data than will rival hypotheses.

2. Explanatory power. The best hypothesis will make the observable data more epistemically probable than rival hypotheses.

3. Plausibility. The best hypothesis will be implied by a greater variety of accepted truths and its negation implied by fewer accepted truths than rival hypotheses.

4. Less ad hoc. The best hypothesis will involve fewer new suppositions not already implied by existing knowledge than rival hypotheses.

5. Accord with accepted beliefs. The best hypothesis, when conjoined with accepted truths, will imply fewer falsehoods than rival hypotheses.

6. Comparative superiority: The best hypothesis will so exceed its rivals in meeting conditions (1) through (5) that there is little chance of a rival hypothesis’s exceeding it in fulfilling those conditions.

– Moreland, James Porter; William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (p. 62). Intervarsity Press.

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