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  1. Peter Achinstein (1992). Inference to the Best Explanation: Or, Who Won the Mill-Whewell Debate? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 23 (2):349-364.
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  2. Mario Alai (2012). Levin and Ghins on the “No Miracle” Argument and Naturalism. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):85-110.
    On the basis of Levin’s claim that truth is not a scientific explanatory factor, Michel Ghins argues that the “no miracle” argument (NMA) is not scientific, therefore scientific realism is not a scientific hypothesis, and naturalism is wrong. I argue that there are genuine senses of ‘scientific’ and ‘explanation’ in which truth can yield scientific explanations. Hence, the NMA can be considered scientific in the sense that it hinges on a scientific explanation, it follows a typically scientific inferential pattern (IBE), (...)
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  3. Thomas Bartelborth (2006). Is the Best Explaining Theory the Most Probable One? Grazer Philosophische Studien 70 (1):1-23.
    Opponents of inference to the best explanation often raise the objection that theories that give us the best explanation of some phenomena need not be the most probable ones. And they are certainly right. But what can we conclude from this insight? Should we ban abduction from theory choice and work instead, for example, with a Bayesian approach? This would be a mistake brought about by a certain misapprehension of the epistemological task. We have to think about the real aims (...)
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  4. Yemima Ben-Menahem (1990). The Inference to the Best Explanation. Erkenntnis 33 (3):319-44.
    In a situation in which several explanations compete, is the one that is better qua explanation also the one we should regard as the more likely to be true? Realists usually answer in the affirmative. They then go on to argue that since realism provides the best explanation for the success of science, realism can be inferred to. Nonrealists, on the other hand, answer the above question in the negative, thereby renouncing the inference to realism. In this paper I separate (...)
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  5. Richard Boyd (1984). Scientific Realism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
    (i) Scientific realism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine about the existence and nature of the unobservables of science. (ii) There are good explanationist arguments for realism, most famously that from the success of science, provided abduction is allowed. Abduction seems to be on an equal footing, at least, with other ampliative methods of inference. (iii) We have no reason to believe a doctrine of empirical equivalence that would sustain the underdetermination argument against realism. (iv) The key to defending realism from (...)
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  6. Jacob Busch (2011). Scientific Realism and the Indispensability Argument for Mathematical Realism: A Marriage Made in Hell. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):307-325.
    An emphasis on explanatory contribution is central to a recent formulation of the indispensability argument (IA) for mathematical realism. Because scientific realism is argued for by means of inference to the best explanation (IBE), it has been further argued that being a scientific realist entails a commitment to IA and thus to mathematical realism. It has, however, gone largely unnoticed that the way that IBE is argued to be truth conducive involves citing successful applications of IBE and tracing this success (...)
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  7. Jacob Busch (2008). No New Miracles, Same Old Tricks. Theoria 74 (2):102-114.
    Abstract: Laudan (1984) distinguishes between two senses of success for scientific theories: (i) that a particular theory is successful, and (ii) that the methods for picking out approximately true theories are successful. These two senses of success are reflected in two different ways that the no miracles argument for scientific realism (NMA) may be set out. First, I set out a (traditional) version of NMA that considers the success of particular theories. I then consider a more recent formulation of NMA (...)
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  8. Jacob Busch & Joe Morrison (forthcoming). Should Scientific Realists Be Platonists? Synthese:1-15.
    Enhanced indispensability arguments claim that Scientific Realists are committed to the existence of mathematical entities due to their reliance on Inference to the best explanation . Our central question concerns this purported parity of reasoning: do people who defend the EIA make an appropriate use of the resources of Scientific Realism to achieve platonism? We argue that just because a variety of different inferential strategies can be employed by Scientific Realists does not mean that ontological conclusions concerning which things we (...)
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  9. H. G. Callaway (2014). Abduction, Competing Models and the Virtues of Hypotheses. In Lorenzo Magnani (ed.), (2014) Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Springer. 263-280.
    This paper focuses on abduction as explicit or readily formulatable inference to possible explanatory hypotheses--as contrasted with inference to conceptual innovations or abductive logic as a cycle of hypotheses, deduction of consequences and inductive testing. Inference to an explanation is often a matter of projection or extrapolation of elements of accepted theory for the solution of outstanding problems in particular domains of inquiry. I say "projections or extrapolation" of accepted theory, but I mean to point to something broader and suggest (...)
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  10. Sara Cannizzaro (2009). “The Line of Beauty”. In Leonard Sbrocchi & John Deely (eds.), Semiotics. Legas Publishing. 849-857.
    There seems to be a relation or some sort of 'unity' between man's works and the spontaneously occurring works produced by nature such as shells, nests, horns and so on. To use Bertalanffy's term for describing common properties of objects or systems (1973), nature's forms and human forms are isomorphic. For example, efficient structures typical of shells or plants such as spirals and radii, are very common archetypes that recur throughout the whole body of humans' architecture. A spiral form can (...)
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  11. Leonardo Cárdenas Castañeda (2011). Inference to the Best Explanation in the Debate Realism/Antirealism. Discusiones Filosóficas 12 (18):89 - 105.
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  12. Steve Clarke (2001). Defensible Territory for Entity Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):701-722.
    In the face of argument to the contrary, it is shown that there is defensible middle ground available for entity realism, between the extremes of scientific realism and empiricist antirealism. Cartwright's ([1983]) earlier argument for defensible middle ground between these extremes, which depended crucially on the viability of an underdeveloped distinction between inference to the best explanation (IBE) and inference to the most probable cause (IPC), is examined and its defects are identified. The relationship between IBE and IPC is clarified (...)
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  13. Gregory W. Dawes (2013). Belief is Not the Issue: A Defence of Inference to the Best Explanation. Ratio 26 (1):62-78.
    Defences of inference to the best explanation (IBE) frequently associate IBE with scientific realism, the idea that it is reasonable to believe our best scientific theories. I argue that this linkage is unfortunate. IBE does not warrant belief, since the fact that a theory is the best available explanation does not show it to be (even probably) true. What IBE does warrant is acceptance: taking a proposition as a premise in theoretical and/or practical reasoning. We ought to accept our best (...)
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  14. Mark Day & George S. Botterill (2008). Contrast, Inference and Scientific Realism. Synthese 160 (2):249 - 267.
    The thesis of underdetermination presents a major obstacle to the epistemological claims of scientific realism. That thesis is regularly assumed in the philosophy of science, but is puzzlingly at odds with the actual history of science, in which empirically adequate theories are thin on the ground. We propose to advance a case for scientific realism which concentrates on the process of scientific reasoning rather than its theoretical products. Developing an account of causal–explanatory inference will make it easier to resist the (...)
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  15. Timothy Day & Harold Kincaid (1994). Putting Inference to the Best Explanation in its Place. Synthese 98 (2):271-295.
    This paper discusses the nature and the status of inference to the best explanation (IBE). We (1) outline the foundational role given IBE by its defenders and the arguments of critics who deny it any place at all; (2) argue that, on the two main conceptions of explanation, IBE cannot be a foundational inference rule; (3) sketch an account of IBE that makes it contextual and dependent on substantive empirical assumptions, much as simplicity seems to be; (4) show how that (...)
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  16. David Arie DeGroot, The Grounding of the Scientific Endeavor: Armstrong's Inference to the Best Explanation and Van Fraassen's Concept of Symmetry.
    The hegemony of the Inference to the Best Explanation as the rule which scientists follow in theorizing has been challenged in recent debates in philosophy of science by the concept of Symmetry. Inference to the Best Explanation as part of the Realist view of science has been most ably defended by David Armstrong. The concept of Symmetry, as part of the Constructive Empiricist view of science, is championed by Bas van Fraassen. If van Fraassen's Symmetry Principles are to become the (...)
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  17. Michael Devitt (1987). Does Realism Explain Success. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 41 (1):29.
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  18. Gerald Doppelt (2014). Best Theory Scientific Realism. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):271-291.
    The aim of this essay is to argue for a new version of ‘inference-to-the-best-explanation’ scientific realism, which I characterize as Best Theory Realism or ‘BTR’. On BTR, the realist needs only to embrace a commitment to the truth or approximate truth of the best theories in a field, those which are unique in satisfying the highest standards of empirical success in a mature field with many successful but falsified predecessors. I argue that taking our best theories to be true is (...)
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  19. Gerald Doppelt (2013). Explaining the Success of Science: Kuhn and Scientific Realists. Topoi 32 (1):43-51.
    In this essay, I critically evaluate the approaches to explaining the success of science in Kuhn and the works of inference-to-the-best-explanation scientific realists. Kuhn’s challenge to realists, who invoke the truth of theories to explain their success, is two-fold. His paradigm-account of success confronts realists with the problem of theory change, and the historical fact of successful theories later rejected as false. Secondly, Kuhn’s account of the success of science has no need to bring truth into the explanation. In turn, (...)
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  20. Gerald Doppelt (2007). Reconstructing Scientific Realism to Rebut the Pessimistic Meta-Induction. Philosophy of Science 74 (1):96-118.
    This paper develops a stronger version of ‘inference-to-the-best explanation’ scientific realism. I argue against three standard assumptions of current realists: (1) realism is confirmed if it provides the best explanation of theories’ predictive success; (2) the realist claim that successful theories are always approximately true provides the best explanation of their success; and (3) realists are committed to giving the same sort of truth-based explanation of superseded theories’ success that they give to explain our best current theories’ success. On the (...)
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  21. Gerald Doppelt (2005). Empirical Success or Explanatory Success: What Does Current Scientific Realism Need to Explain? Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1076-1087.
    Against the well-known objection that in the history of science there are many theories that are successful but false, Psillos offers a three-pronged defense of scientific realism as the best explanation for the success of science. Focusing on these, I criticize Psillos’ defense, arguing that each prong is weakened when we recognize that according to realist rebuttals of the underdetermination argument and versions of empiricism, realists are committed to accounting for the explanatory success of theories, not their mere empirical adequacy (...)
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  22. Gerald Doppelt, Does Structural Realism Provide the Best Explanation of the Predictive Success of Science?
    I examine Carrier’s and Ladyman’s structural realist (‘SR’) explanation of the predictive success of phlogiston chemistry. On their account, it succeeds because phlogiston chemists grasped that there is some common unobservable structure of relations underlying combustion, calcification, and respiration. I argue that this SR account depends on assuming the truth of current chemical theory of oxidation and reduction, which provides a better explanation of the success of phlogiston theory than SR provides. I defend an alternative version of inference-to-the-best-explanation scientific realism (...)
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  23. Gerald D. Doppelt (2011). From Standard Scientific Realism and Structural Realism to Best Current Theory Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):295-316.
    I defend a realist commitment to the truth of our most empirically successful current scientific theories—on the ground that it provides the best explanation of their success and the success of their falsified predecessors. I argue that this Best Current Theory Realism (BCTR) is superior to preservative realism (PR) and the structural realism (SR). I show that PR and SR rest on the implausible assumption that the success of outdated theories requires the realist to hold that these theories possessed truthful (...)
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  24. I. Douven (2005). Wouldn't It Be Lovely: Explanation and Scientific Realism. Metascience 14:338-343.
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  25. Igor Douven (2002). Testing Inference to the Best Explanation. Synthese 130 (3):355 - 377.
    Inference to the Best Explanation has become the subject of a livelydebate in the philosophy of science. Scientific realists maintain, while scientificantirealists deny, that it is a compelling rule of inference. It seems that anyattempt to settle this debate empirically must beg the question against theantirealist. The present paper argues that this impression is misleading. A methodis described that, by combining Glymour''s theory of bootstrapping and Hacking''sarguments from microscopy, allows us to test IBE without begging any antirealistissues.
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  26. Matthias Egg (2012). Causal Warrant for Realism About Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):259-280.
    While scientific realism generally assumes that successful scientific explanations yield information about reality, realists also have to admit that not all information acquired in this way is equally well warranted. Some versions of scientific realism do this by saying that explanatory posits with which we have established some kind of causal contact are better warranted than those that merely appear in theoretical hypotheses. I first explicate this distinction by considering some general criteria that permit us to distinguish causal warrant from (...)
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  27. Mohamed Elsamahi (1994). Could Theoretical Entities Save Realism? In David & Richard Hull & Burian (ed.), PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. 173 - 180.
    Hacking and other entity realists suggest a strategy to build scientific realism on a stronger foundation than inference to the best explanation. They argue that if beliefs in the existence of theoretical entities are derived from experimentation rather than theories, they can escape the antirealist's criticism and provide a stronger ground for realism. In this paper, an outline and a critique of entity realism are presented. It will be argued that entity realism cannot stand as a separate position from classical (...)
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  28. Lefteris Farmakis & Stephan Hartmann (2005). Review of Inference to the Best Explanation by Peter Lipton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (6).
  29. Greg Frost-Arnold, The Limits of Scientific Explanation and the No-Miracles Argument.
    There are certain explanations that scientists do not accept, even though such explanations do not conflict with observation, logic, or other scientific theories. I argue that a common version of the no-miracles argument (NMA) for scientific realism relies upon just such an explanation. First, scientists (usually) do not accept explanations whose explanans neither generates novel predictions nor unifies apparently disparate phenomena. Second, scientific realism (as it appears in the NMA) is an explanans that makes no new predictions, and fails to (...)
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  30. Greg Frost-Arnold (2010). The No-Miracles Argument for Realism: Inference to an Unacceptable Explanation. Philosophy of Science 77 (1):35-58.
    I argue that a certain type of naturalist should not accept a prominent version of the no-miracles argument (NMA). First, scientists (usually) do not accept explanations whose explanans-statements neither generate novel predictions nor unify apparently disparate established claims. Second, scientific realism (as it appears in the NMA) is an explanans that makes no new predictions and fails to unify disparate established claims. Third, many proponents of the NMA explicitly adopt a naturalism that forbids philosophy of science from using any methods (...)
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  31. Philippe Gagnon (2011). L’irréductibilité de la connaissance et l’intentionnalité en contexte de découverte abductive. Laval Théologique et Philosophique 67 (2):227-258.
    Knowledge is still an enigma, with its ability to inductively bring out a pattern without restricting itself to an empirical count of situations experienced. Instead of seeing the concept as a weakened object representing an external reality, it is suggested to view knowledge as the bridging of a distance with an ability for the knower to stay connected with outward reality. Attempts at defining an external and quantitative criterion of truth are questioned, as many human performances are not likely to (...)
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  32. Philip Gasper (1990). Explanation and Scientific Realism. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 27:285-295.
    A few years ago, Bas van Fraassen reminded philosophers of science that there are two central questions that a theory of explanation ought to answer. First, what is a explanation—when has something been explained satisfactorily? Second, why do we value explanations? . For a long time, discussions of explanation concentrated on technical problems connected with the first of these questions, and the second was by and large ignored. But, in fact, I think it is the second question which raises the (...)
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  33. Geoffrey Gorham (1996). Does Scientific Realism Beg the Question? Informal Logic 18 (2).
    In a series of influential articles, the anti-realist Arthur Fine has repeatedly charged that a certain very popular argument for scientific realism, that only realism can explain the instrumental success of science, begs the question. I argue that on no plausible reading ofthe fallacy does the realist argument beg the question. In fact, Fine is himself guilty of what DeMorgan called the "opponent fallacy.".
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  34. Katherine Hawley (2006). Science as a Guide to Metaphysics? Synthese 149 (3):451 - 470.
    Analytic metaphysics is in resurgence; there is renewed and vigorous interest in topics such as time, causation, persistence, parthood and possible worlds. We who share this interest often pay lip-service to the idea that metaphysics should be informed by modern science; some take this duty very seriously.2 But there is also a widespread suspicion that science cannot really contribute to metaphysics, and that scientific findings grossly underdetermine metaphysical claims. For some, this prompts the thought ‘so much the worse for metaphysics’; (...)
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  35. Jesse Hobbs (1993). Book Review:Inference to the Best Explanation Peter Lipton. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 60 (4):679-.
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  36. Valeriano Iranzo (2008). Reliabilism and the Abductive Defence of Scientific Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 39 (1):115 - 120.
    According to the “no-miracles argument” (NMA), truth is the best explanation of the predictive-instrumental success of scientific theories. A standard objection against NMA is that it is viciously circular. In Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth Stathis Psillos has claimed that the circularity objection can be met when NMA is supplemented with a reliabilist approach to justification. I will try to show, however, that scientific realists cannot take much comfort from this policy: if reliabilism makes no qualifications about the domain (...)
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  37. Valeriano Iranzo (2007). Abduction and Inference to the Best Explanation. Theoria 22 (3):339-346.
    Aliseda’s Abductive Reasoning is focused on the logical problem of abduction. My paper, in contrast, deals with the epistemic problems raised by this sort of inference. I analyze the relation between abduction and inference to the best explanation (IBE). Firstly a heuristic and a normative interpretation of IBE are distinguished. The epistemic problem is particularly pressing for the latter interpretation, since it is devoid of content without specific epistemic criteria for separating acceptable explanations from those which are not. Then I (...)
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  38. Kareem Khalifa (2010). Default Privilege and Bad Lots: Underconsideration and Explanatory Inference. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):91 – 105.
    The underconsideration argument against inference to the best explanation and scientific realism holds that scientists are not warranted in inferring that the best theory is true, because scientists only ever conceive of a small handful of theories at one time, and as a result, they may not have considered a true theory. However, antirealists have not developed a detailed alternative account of why explanatory inference nevertheless appears so central to scientific practice. In this paper, I provide new defences against some (...)
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  39. James Ladyman, Igor Douven, Leon Horsten & Bas van Fraassen (1997). A Defence of Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Inference: Reply to Psillos. Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):305-321.
    Psillos has recently argued that van Fraassen’s arguments against abduction fail. Moreover, he claimed that, if successful, these arguments would equally undermine van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, for, Psillos thinks, it is only by appeal to abduction that constructive empiricism can be saved from issuing in a bald scepticism. We show that Psillos’ criticisms are misguided, and that they are mostly based on misinterpretations of van Fraassen’s arguments. Furthermore, we argue that Psillos’ arguments for his claim that constructive empiricism itself (...)
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  40. Wang-Yen Lee (2014). Should the No-Miracle Argument Add to Scientific Evidence? Philosophia 42 (4):999-1004.
    Lipton contends that the no-miracle argument is illegitimate, because it fails to adduce new evidence beyond that cited by scientists for their theories. The debate on this issue between Lipton and Psillos has focussed on whether there is a construal of the no-miracle argument in relation to first-order scientific inferences that can yield new evidence. I move away from this focus without taking sides, and argue that the no-miracle argument, on its two popular interpretations, is as legitimate, cogent, and useful (...)
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  41. Peter Lipton (2007). Précis of Inference to the Best Explanation, 2nd Edition. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421–423.
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  42. Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
    How do we go about weighing evidence, testing hypotheses, and making inferences? The model of "inference to the best explanation" (IBE) -- that we infer the hypothesis that would, if correct, provide the best explanation of the available evidence--offers a compelling account of inferences both in science and in ordinary life. Widely cited by epistemologists and philosophers of science, IBE has nonetheless remained little more than a slogan. Now this influential work has been thoroughly revised and updated, and features a (...)
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  43. Timothy D. Lyons (2006). Peter Lipton: Inference to the Best Explanation London, Routledge, 2004, 2nd Edition Paperback $33.95 Isbn 0-415-24203-. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):255-258.
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  44. Timothy D. Lyons (2003). Explaining the Success of a Scientific Theory. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):891-901.
    Scientific realists have claimed that the posit that our theories are (approximately) true provides the best or the only explanation for their success. In response, I revive two nonrealist explanations. I show that realists, in discarding them, have either misconstrued the phenomena to be explained or mischaracterized the relationship between these explanations and their own. I contend nonetheless that these nonrealist competitors, as well as their realist counterparts, should be rejected; for none of them succeed in explaining a significant list (...)
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  45. Moti Mizrahi (2014). Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.
    In this paper, I argue that Constructive Empiricism (CE) is ambiguous between two interpretations: CE as a normative epistemology of science and CE as a descriptive philosophy of science. When they present CE, constructive empiricists write as if CE is supposed to be more than a normative epistemology of science and that it is meant to be responsible to actual scientific practices. However, when they respond to objections, constructive empiricists fall back on a strictly normative interpretation of CE. This ambiguity (...)
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  46. Moti Mizrahi (2012). Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.
    In this paper, I argue that the ultimate argument for Scientific Realism, also known as the No-Miracles Argument (NMA), ultimately fails as an abductive defence of Epistemic Scientific Realism (ESR), where (ESR) is the thesis that successful theories of mature sciences are approximately true. The NMA is supposed to be an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) that purports to explain the success of science. However, the explanation offered as the best explanation for success, namely (ESR), fails to yield independently (...)
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  47. María G. Navarro & Noemi de Haro García (2012). Cognitive Abduction in the Study of Visual Culture. Philosophy and Cognitive Science. Western and Eastern Studies 2:205-220.
    In this paper art history and visual studies, the disciplines that study visual culture, are presented as a field whose conjectural paradigm can be used to understand the epistemic problems associated with abduction. In order to do so, significant statements, concepts and arguments from the work of several specialists in this field have been highlighted. Their analysis shows the fruitfulness and potential for understanding the study of visual culture as a field that is interwoven with the assumptions of abductive cognition.
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  48. Mark Newman (2010). The No-Miracles Argument, Reliabilism, and a Methodological Version of the Generality Problem. Synthese 177 (1):111 - 138.
    The No-Miracles Argument (NMA) is often used to support scientific realism. We can formulate this argument as an inference to the best explanation this accusation of circularity by appealing to reliabilism, an externalist epistemology. In this paper I argue that this retreat fails. Reliabilism suffers from a potentially devastating difficulty known as the Generality Problem and attempts to solve this problem require adopting both epistemic and metaphysical assumptions regarding local scientific theories. Although the externalist can happily adopt the former, if (...)
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  49. Ilkka Niiniluoto (2007). Abduction and Scientific Realism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 12:137-142.
    Many scientific realists think that the best reasons for scientific theories are abductive, i.e., must appeal to what is also called inference to the best explanation (IBE), while some anti-realists have argued that the use of abduction in defending realism is question-begging, circular, or incoherent. This paper studies the idea that abductive inference can be reformulated by taking its conclusion to concern the truthlikeness of a hypothetical theory on the basis of its success in explanation and prediction. The strength of (...)
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  50. Ilkka Niiniluoto (2005). Abduction and Truthlikeness. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 83 (1):255-275.
    This paper studies the interplay between two notions which are important for the project of defending scientific realism: abduction and truthlikeness. The main focus is the generalization of abduction to cases where the conclusion states that the best theory is truthlike or approximately true. After reconstructing the recent proposals of Theo Kuipers within the framework of monadic predicate logic, I apply my own notion of truthlikeness. It turns out that a theory with higher truthlikeness does not always have greater empirical (...)
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