As far as I understand the best explanation argument is the best argument for the existence of other minds, but I don't understand what is meant here: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/other-minds/#BestExpl "Melnyk (1994) has argued that there is an important disanalogy between the scientific realist's reason for believing in theoretical entities and an ordinary person's reason for believing that other people have minds. His argument rests on the observation that gross behavioral evidence is insufficient for belief in another mind without additional reference to what one knows from one's own case. Melnyk can be read as advocating a hybrid account of our knowledge here, incorporating elements from the argument from analogy as a supplement to the inference from best explanation. But he also makes the following, important, observation: "A complete response to the problem of other minds seems obliged to incorporate more than one approach, and may have to incorporate several"" - explain it to me please.

I have a questions:

1)Melnyk concluded that the best explanation argument is flawed and considered unusable? If so, what argument is now being used if the argument of best explanation and argument by analogy are considered false and unusable?

  1. It is written that a complete solution to the problem of other minds should contain several approaches. What does it mean? Need a lot of arguments for the existence of other minds? Is one not enough?
  • 2
    1. "Insufficient on its own" is very different from "false and unusable". 2. Inference to the best explanation is never ironclad, the "best" is always only best available, so the more supporting arguments the better, and not just in this case. "Philosophy ought to... trust rather to the multitude and variety of its arguments than to the conclusiveness of any one. Its reasoning should not form a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a cable whose fibers may be ever so slender, provided they are sufficiently numerous and intimately connected", C.S. Peirce.
    – Conifold
    Oct 5, 2022 at 17:44
  • That is, the best explanation argument is valid and usable, but the best explanation argument need to be used in conjunction with the analogy argument? What does "Insufficient on its own" mean?
    – Johnny5454
    Oct 5, 2022 at 18:06
  • 1
    "Insufficient on its own" can mean that it gets to the desired conclusion only in conjunction with the analogy argument, or that they both get to that conclusion, but have to reinforce each other to be convincing. While neither is conclusive separately, together they make the conclusion much more plausible. Indeed, every time one acts on the assumption that they deal with other minds, and the transaction is successful, it reinforces the conclusion further. Those are the slender fibers of Peirce's sturdy cable.
    – Conifold
    Oct 5, 2022 at 20:07
  • 2
    Indeed other minds are private and thus notoriously difficult or even nonsense to objectively compare and talk about in analytic philosophy emphasized from Descartes who even doubt the authenticity of introspection of one's own mind. And certainly theory of other minds is an empirical theory adopted by cognitive sciences whose implicit background philosophy is naturalism adopting the best of explanation argument itself. From a epistemic level Melnyk rightly argued against above self-serving arguments (p-zombies are counterexamples) and argued for more evidence from this deeper perspective... Oct 5, 2022 at 22:15
  • 1
    The "best explanation" argument is called abduction. It's regarded as a quite poor standard of proof as conifold explained. Coupled with other arguments it can't become a proof, but at least helps making a case (think of it like a trial, where there is no strong evidence but a guilty verdict can still be obtained with enough circumstantial evidence). Another valid argument for others' mind is simply that there is no reason to doubt other people have a mind.
    – armand
    Oct 7, 2022 at 2:00


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