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  1. Peter Achinstein (2002). Is There a Valid Experimental Argument for Scientific Realism? Journal of Philosophy 99 (9):470-495.
  2. Vadim Batitsky (2000). A Realistic Look at Putnam's Argument Against Realism. Foundations of Science 5 (3):299-321.
    Putnam's ``model-theoretic'' argument against metaphysical realism presupposes that an ideal scientific theory is expressible in a first order language. The central aim of this paper is to show that Putnam's ``first orderization'' of science, although unchallenged by numerous critics, makes his argument unsound even for adequate theories, never mind an ideal one. To this end, I will argue that quantitative theories, which dominate the natural sciences, can be adequately interpreted and evaluated only with the help of so-called theories of measurement (...)
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  3. Michael A. Bishop (2003). The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
    Scientific realism says of our best scientific theories that (1) most of their important posits exist and (2) most of their central claims are approximately true. Antirealists sometimes offer the pessimistic induction in reply: since (1) and (2) are false about past successful theories, they are probably false about our own best theories too. The contemporary debate about this argument has turned (and become stuck) on the question, Do the central terms of successful scientific theories refer? For example, Larry Laudan (...)
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  4. Eftichios Bitsakis (1993). Scientific Realism. Science and Society 57 (2):160 - 193.
    The task of the present paper is to formulate the essential arguments for a scientific realism based on science and especially on physics. The first part of the paper constitutes a critical refutation of the doctrine of David Hume and of contemporary antirealism. The thesis concerning the objectivity of nature is founded on arguments deriving from physics, cosmology and physiology. More specifically, modern energetism is refuted on the basis of the relativistic relations among mass, matter and energy. Modern neoplatonism is (...)
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  5. M. Elaine Botha (1986). Metaphorical Models and Scientific Realism. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:374 - 383.
    Theories developed on the basis of metaphorical modes and tested and corroborated in confrontation with empirical reality, provide a realistic approximation of reality. This is argued over and against the position of Mary Hesse who sees theorizing as the metaphorical redescription of the domain of the expanandum yet opts for an antirealist or moderate realist position because of her rejection of the existence of universals, natural kinds and essences. It will be argued that the maintenance of a realist stance requires (...)
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  6. Katherine Brading & Alexander Skiles (2012). Underdetermination as a Path to Structural Realism. In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer.
  7. Robert B. Brandom (2015). From Empiricism to Expressivism. Harvard University Press.
  8. James Robert Brown (1994). Smoke and Mirrors: How Science Reflects Reality. Routledge.
    In Smoke and Mirrors , James Robert Brown fights back against figures such as Richard Rorty, Bruno Latour, Michael Ruse and Hilary Putnam who have attacked realistic accounts of science. This enlightening work also demonstrates that science mirrors the world in amazing ways. The metaphysics and epistemology of science, the role of abstraction, abstract objects, and a priori ways of getting at reality are all examined in this fascinating exploration of how science reflects reality. Both a defense of science and (...)
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  9. Anjan Chakravartty, Scientific Realism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  10. Anjan Chakravartty (2008). What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149 - 158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  11. Anjan Chakravartty (2007). A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable. Cambridge University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising recent strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core (...)
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  12. Colin Cheyne & John Worrall (eds.) (2006). Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Springer.
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  13. Stephen Clarke (2010). Transcendental Realisms in the Philosophy of Science: On Bhaskar and Cartwright. Synthese 173 (3):299 - 315.
    I consider two transcendental arguments for realism in the philosophy of science, which are due to Roy Bhaskar (A realist theory of science, 1975) and Nancy Cartwright (The dappled world, 1999). Bhaskar and Cartwright are both influential figures, however there is little discussion of their use of transcendental arguments in the literature. Here I seek to correct this oversight. I begin by describing the role of the transcendental arguments in question, in the context of the broader philosophical theories in which (...)
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  14. Tulodziecki Dana (2007). Breaking the Ties: Epistemic Significance, Bacilli, and Underdetermination. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C.
  15. Richard Dawid (2007). Scientific Realism in the Age of String Theory. Physics and Philosophy.
    String theory currently is the only viable candidate for a unified description of all known natural forces. This article tries to demonstrate that the fundamental structural and methodological differences that set string theory apart from other physical theories have important philosophical consequences. Focussing on implications for the realism debate in philosophy of science, it is argued that both poles of that debate face new problems in the context of string theory. On the one hand, the claim of underdetermination of scientific (...)
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  16. Michael Devitt (2011). Are Unconceived Alternatives a Problem for Scientific Realism? Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):285-293.
    Stanford, in Exceeding Our Grasp , presents a powerful version of the pessimistic meta-induction. He claims that theories typically have empirically inequivalent but nonetheless well-confirmed, serious alternatives which are unconceived. This claim should be uncontroversial. But it alone is no threat to scientific realism. The threat comes from Stanford’s further crucial claim, supported by historical examples, that a theory’s unconceived alternatives are “radically distinct” from it; there is no “continuity”. A standard realist reply to the meta-induction is that past failures (...)
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  17. Igor Douven (2005). Evidence, Explanation, and the Empirical Status of Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 63 (2):253 - 291.
    There is good reason to believe that, if it can be decided at all, the realism debate must be decided on a posteriori grounds. But at least prima facie the prospects for an a posteriori resolution of the debate seem bleak, given that realists and antirealists disagree over two of the most fundamental questions pertaining to any kind of empirical research, to wit, what the range of accessible evidence is and what the methodological status of explanatory considerations is. The present (...)
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  18. John Earman (1978). Fairy Tales Vs an Ongoing Story: Ramsey's Neglected Argument for Scientific Realism. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 33 (2):195 - 202.
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  19. 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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  20. David Eng, The Role of Idealizations in the Realism/Anti-Realism Debate.
    The thesis focuses on what impact the use of idealizations has on the realism/anti-realism debate concerning the fundamental laws of physics. My aim is modest. It is not to present an argument for either the realist or the anti-realist position but rather to show where the debate stands once we have considered recent arguments by Laymon and Cartwright which have made use of the notion of idealization assumptions. My intent is to point out the difficulties of Laymon's argument for realism (...)
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  21. Bas C. Fraassen (1982). The Charybdis of Realism: Epistemological Implications of Bell's Inequality. Synthese 52 (1):25 - 38.
  22. Bas C. Fraassen (1974). Theoretical Entities: The Five Ways. Philosophia 4 (1):95-109.
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  23. Greg Frost-Arnold (2011). From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Antirealism. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1131-1142.
    The Pessimistic Induction (PI) states: most past scientific theories were radically mistaken; therefore, current theories are probably similarly mistaken. But mistaken in what way? On the usual understanding, such past theories are false. However, on widely held views about reference and presupposition, many theoretical claims of previous scientific theories are neither true nor false. And if substantial portions of past theories are truth-valueless, then the PI leads to semantic antirealism. But most current philosophers of science reject semantic antirealism. So PI (...)
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  24. Piotr Giza (2002). Automated Discovery Systems and Scientific Realism. Minds and Machines 12 (1):105-117.
    In the paper I explore the relations between a relatively new and quickly expanding branch of artificial intelligence –- the automated discovery systems –- and some new views advanced in the old debate over scientific realism. I focus my attention on one such system, GELL-MANN, designed in 1990 at Wichita State University. The program's task was to analyze elementary particle data available in 1964 and formulate an hypothesis (or hypotheses) about a `hidden', more simple structure of matter, or to put (...)
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  25. David Harker (2010). Two Arguments for Scientific Realism Unified. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):192-202.
    Inferences from scientific success to the approximate truth of successful theories remain central to the most influential arguments for scientific realism. Challenges to such inferences, however, based on radical discontinuities within the history of science, have motivated a distinctive style of revision to the original argument. Conceding the historical claim, selective realists argue that accompanying even the most revolutionary change is the retention of significant parts of replaced theories, and that a realist attitude towards the systematically retained constituents of our (...)
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  26. Rom Harré (1996). From Observability to Manipulability: Extending the Inductive Arguments for Realism. Synthese 108 (2):137 - 155.
    In recent years there have been several attempts to construct inductive arguments for some version of scientific realism. Neither the characteristics of what would count as inductive evidence nor the conclusion to be inferred have been specified in ways that escape sceptical criticism. By introducing the pragmatic criterion of manipulative efficacy for a good theory and by sharpening the specification of the necessary inductive principle, the viability of a mutually supporting pair of argument forms are defended. It is shown that (...)
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  27. C. Held (2011). Truth Does Not Explain Predictive Success. Analysis 71 (2):232-234.
    Laudan famously argued that neither truth nor approximate truth can be part of an explanation of a scientific theory's predictive success because in the history of science there were theories that enjoyed some limited success but now are considered outright false. The power of his argument lay in the many historic examples he listed . Realists have disputed that all theories on Laudan's list can be regarded as predictively successful but let's suppose momentarily that at least some exist that support (...)
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  28. Christopher Read Hitchcock (1992). Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
    It is widely believed that many of the competing accounts of scientific explanation have ramifications which are relevant to the scientific realism debate. I claim that the two issues are orthogonal. For definiteness, I consider Cartwright's argument that causal explanations secure belief in theoretical entities. In Section I, van Fraassen's anti-realism is reviewed; I argue that this anti-realism is, prima facie, consistent with a causal account of explanation. Section II reviews Cartwright's arguments. In Section III, it is argued that causal (...)
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  29. Harmon R. Holcomb (1988). Hacking's Experimental Argument for Realism. Journal of Critical Analysis 9 (1):1-12.
  30. A. Kantorovich (1996). Scientific Realism: Darwinian Smoke and Platonic Mirrors. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (2):301-309.
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  31. William H. Krieger & Brian L. Keeley (2006). The Unexpected Realist. In Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge University Press.
    There are two ways to do the unexpected. The banal way—let's call it the expectedly unexpected—is simply to chart the waters of what is and is not done, and then set out to do something different. For a philosopher, this can be done by embracing a method of non sequitor or by perhaps inverting some strongly held assumption of the field. The more interesting way— the unexpectedly unexpected—is to transform the expectations themselves; to do something new and contextualize it in (...)
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  32. André Kukla (1998). Studies in Scientific Realism. Oxford University Press.
    This book offers a superbly clear analysis of the standard arguments for and against scientific realism. In surveying claims on both sides of the debate, Kukla organizes them in ways that expose unnoticed connections. He identifies broad patterns of error, reconciles seemingly incompatible positions, and discovers unoccupied positions with the potential to influence further debate. Kukla's overall assessment is that neither the realists nor the antirealists may claim a decisive victory.
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  33. Larry Laudan (1990). Science and Relativism: Some Key Controversies in the Philosophy of Science. The University of Chicago Press.
    Some Key Controversies in the Philosophy of Science Larry Laudan. the mouths of my realist, relativist, and positivist. (By contrast, there is at least one person who hews to the line I have my prag- matist defending.) But I have gone to some  ...
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  34. Wang-Yen Lee (2007). A Pragmatic Case Against Pragmatic Scientific Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):299 - 313.
    Pragmatic Scientific Realism (PSR) urges us to take up the realist aim or the goal of truth although we have good reason to think that the goal can neither be attained nor approximated. While Newton-Smith thinks that pursuing what we know we cannot achieve is clearly irrational, Rescher disagrees and contends that pursuing an unreachable goal can be rational on pragmatic grounds—if in pursuing the unreachable goal one can get indirect benefits. I have blocked this attempt at providing a pragmatic (...)
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  35. Stephen Leeds (2007). Correspondence Truth and Scientific Realism. Synthese 159 (1):1 - 21.
    I argue that one good reason for Scientific Realists to be interested in correspondence theories is the hope they offer us of being able to state and defend realistic theses in the face of well-known difficulties about modern physics: such theses as, that our theories are approximately true, or that they will tend to approach the truth. I go on to claim that this hope is unlikely to be fulfilled. I suggest that Realism can still survive in the face of (...)
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  36. P. D. Magnus (2010). Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):803-819.
    Kyle Stanford has recently claimed to offer a new challenge to scientific realism. Taking his inspiration from the familiar Pessimistic Induction (PI), Stanford proposes a New Induction (NI). Contra Anjan Chakravartty’s suggestion that the NI is a ‘red herring’, I argue that it reveals something deep and important about science. The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, which lies at the heart of the NI, yields a richer anti-realism than the PI. It explains why science falls short when it falls short, and (...)
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  37. P. D. Magnus & Craig Callender (2004). Realist Ennui and the Base Rate Fallacy. Philosophy of Science 71 (3):320-338.
    The no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are arguably the main considerations for and against scientific realism. Recently these arguments have been accused of embodying a familiar, seductive fallacy. In each case, we are tricked by a base rate fallacy, one much-discussed in the psychological literature. In this paper we consider this accusation and use it as an explanation for why the two most prominent `wholesale' arguments in the literature seem irresolvable. Framed probabilistically, we can see very clearly why realists (...)
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  38. Nicholas Maxwell (1993). Does Orthodox Quantum Theory Undermine, or Support, Scientific Realism? Philosophical Quarterly 44 (171):139-157.
    It is usually taken for granted that orthodox quantum theory poses a serious problem for scientific realism, in that the theory is empirically extraordinarily successful, and yet has instrumentalism built into it. This paper stand this view on its head. I argue that orthodox quantum theory suffers from a number of serious (if not always noticed) defects precisely because of its inbuilt instrumentalism. This defective character of orthdoox quantum theory thus undermines instrumentalism, and supports scientific realism. I go on to (...)
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  39. Mary Kate Mcgowan (1999). The Metaphysics of Squaring Scientific Realism with Referential Indeterminacy. Erkenntnis 50 (1):83-90.
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  40. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-10.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (PUA). From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy (Mizrahi 2014), it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key (...)
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  41. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far. Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then (...)
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  42. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
    In this article, through a critical examination of K. Brad Wray's version of the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism, I articulate a modest version of scientific realism. This modest realist position, which I call ‘relative realism’, preserves the scientific realist's optimism about science's ability to get closer to the truth while, at the same time, taking on board the antirealist's premise that theory evaluation is comparative, and thus that there are no good reasons to think that science's best theories (...)
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  43. 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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  44. Matteo Morganti (2011). Is There a Compelling Argument for Ontic Structural Realism? Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1165-1176.
    Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, I distinguish between two arguments in favor of (...)
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  45. Bence Nanay (2013). Singularist Semirealism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):371-394.
    This paper proposes to carve out a new position in the scientific realism/antirealism debate and argue that it captures some of the most important realist and some of the most important antirealist considerations. The view, briefly stated, is that there is always a fact of the matter about whether the singular statements science gives us are literally true, but there is no fact of the matter about whether the non-singular statements science gives us are literally true. I call this view (...)
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  46. Christopher Norris (2000). Quantum Nonlocality and the Challenge to Scientific Realism. Foundations of Science 5 (1):3-45.
    In this essay I examine various aspects of the nearcentury-long debate concerning the conceptualfoundations of quantum mechanics and the problems ithas posed for physicists and philosophers fromEinstein to the present. Most crucial here is theissue of realism and the question whether quantumtheory is compatible with any kind of realist orcausal-explanatory account which goes beyond theempirical-predictive data. This was Einstein's chiefconcern in the famous series of exchanges with NielsBohr when he refused to accept the truth orcompleteness of a doctrine (orthodox QM) (...)
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  47. Seungbae Park (forthcoming). Realism Versus Surrealism. Foundations of Science:1-12.
    Realism and surrealism claim, respectively, that a scientific theory is successful because it is true, and because the world operates as if it is true. Lyons (2003) criticizes realism and argues that surrealism is superior to realism. I reply that Lyons’s criticisms against realism fail. I also attempt to establish the following two claims: 1. Realism and surrealism lead to a useful prescription and a useless prescription, respectively, on how to make an unsuccessful theory successful. 2. Realism and surrealism give (...)
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  48. Seungbae Park (forthcoming). The Argument From Underconsideration Reconsidered. Acta Philosophica 24 (2).
    Scientific antirealists run the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism. I reply that the argument from underconsideration backfires on antirealists’ positive philosophical theories, such as the contextual theory of explanation (van Fraassen, 1980), the English model of rationality (van Fraassen, 1989), the evolutionary explanation of the success of science (Wray, 2008; 2012), and explanatory idealism (Khalifa, 2013). Antirealists strengthen the argument from underconsideration with the pessimistic induction against current scientific theories. In response, I construct a pessimistic induction that since antirealists (...)
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  49. Seungbae Park (2015). Explanatory Failures of Relative Realism. Epistemologia 38:16-28.
    Scientific realism (Putnam 1975; Psillos 1999) and relative realism (Mizrahi 2013) claim that successful scientific theories are approximately true and comparatively true, respectively. A theory is approximately true if and only if it is close to the truth. A theory is comparatively true if and only if it is closer to the truth than its competitors are. I argue that relative realism is more skeptical about the claims of science than it initially appears to be and that it can explain (...)
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  50. Seungbae Park (2014). The Doxastic Requirement of Scientific Explanation and Understanding. Prolegomena 13 (2):279-290.
    Van Fraassen (1980) and Winther (2009) claim that we can explain phenomena in terms of scientific theories without believing that they are true. I argue that we ought to believe that they are true in order to use them to explain and understand phenomena. A scientific antirealist who believes that scientific theories are merely empirically adequate cannot use them to explain or to understand phenomena. The mere belief that they are empirically adequate produces neither explanation nor understanding of phenomena. Explanation (...)
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