Transitivity and Partial Screening Off



The notion of probabilistic support is beset by well-known problems. In this paper we add a new one to the list: the problem of transitivity. Tomoji Shogenji has shown that positive probabilistic support, or confirmation, is transitive under the condition of screening off. However, under that same condition negative probabilistic support, or disconfirmation, is intransitive. Since there are many situations in which disconfirmation is transitive, this illustrates, but now in a different way, that the screening-off condition is too restrictive. We therefore weaken this condition to what we call ‘partial’ screening off. We show that the domain defined by partial screening off comprises two mutually exclusive subdomains. In one subdomain disconfirmation is indeed transitive, but confirmation is then intransitive. In the other, confirmation is transitive, but here disconfirmation is once more intransitive.