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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. 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.
  4. 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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  5. Anjan Chakravartty, Scientific Realism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  6. 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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  7. Colin Cheyne & John Worrall (eds.) (2006). Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Springer.
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  8. 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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  9. Tulodziecki Dana (2007). Breaking the Ties: Epistemic Significance, Bacilli, and Underdetermination. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C.
  10. 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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  11. Michael Devitt (2011). Are Unconceived Alternatives a Problem for Scientific Realism? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. Bas C. Fraassen (1982). The Charybdis of Realism: Epistemological Implications of Bell's Inequality. Synthese 52 (1):25 - 38.
  15. Bas C. Fraassen (1974). Theoretical Entities: The Five Ways. Philosophia 4 (1):95-109.
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  16. 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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  17. David Harker (2010). Two Arguments for Scientific Realism Unified. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):192-202.
  18. 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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  19. C. Held (2011). Truth Does Not Explain Predictive Success. Analysis 71 (2):232-234.
  20. 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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  21. Harmon R. Holcomb (1988). Hacking's Experimental Argument for Realism. Journal of Critical Analysis 9 (1):1-12.
  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Wang-Yen Lee (2007). A Pragmatic Case Against Pragmatic Scientific Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. Mary Kate Mcgowan (1999). The Metaphysics of Squaring Scientific Realism with Referential Indeterminacy. Erkenntnis 50 (1):83-90.
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  30. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    In this paper, through a critical examination of 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 are close (...)
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. Seungbae Park (2014). Accepting Our Best Scientific Theories. Multidisciplinary Journal Pensee 76 (3):131-139.
    Dawes (2013) claims that we ought not to believe but to accept our best scientific theories. To accept them means to employ them as premises in our reasoning with the goal of attaining knowledge about unobservables. I reply that if we do not believe our best scientific theories, we cannot gain knowledge about unobservables, our opponents might dismiss the predictions derived from them, and we cannot use them to explain phenomena. We commit an unethical speech act when we explain a (...)
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  36. Seungbae Park (2003). Ontological Order in Scientific Explanation. Philosophical Papers 32 (2):157-170.
    A scientific theory is successful, according to Stanford (2000), because it is suficiently observationally similar to its corresponding true theory. The Ptolemaic theory, for example, is successful because it is sufficiently similar to the Copernican theory at the observational level. The suggestion meets the scientific realists' request to explain the success of science without committing to the (approximate) truth of successful scientific theories. I argue that Stanford's proposal has a conceptual flaw. A conceptually sound explanation, I claim, respects the ontological (...)
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  37. Stathis Psillos (2011). Choosing the Realist Framework. Synthese 180 (2):301 - 316.
    There has been an empiricist tradition in the core of Logical Positivism/Empiricism, starting with Moritz Schlick and ending in Herbert Feigl (via Hans Reichenbach), according to which the world of empiricism need not be a barren place devoid of all the explanatory entities posited by scientific theories. The aim of this paper is to articulate this tradition and to explore ways in which its key elements can find a place in the contemporary debate over scientific realism. It presents a way (...)
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  38. Stathis Psillos (2011). On Reichenbach's Argument for Scientific Realism. Synthese 181 (1):23 - 40.
    The aim of this paper is to articulate, discuss in detail and criticise Reichenbach's sophisticated and complex argument for scientific realism. Reichenbach's argument has two parts. The first part aims to show how there can be reasonable belief in unobservable entities, though the truth of claims about them is not given directly in experience. The second part aims to extent the argument of the first part to the case of realism about the external world, conceived of as a world of (...)
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  39. Stathis Psillos (2005). Review of Philosophy of Language and the Challenge to Scientific Realism by Christopher Norris. [REVIEW] Journal of Critical Realism 4 (1):255-261.
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  40. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2010). Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225.
    Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate (...)
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  41. Federica Russo (2006). Salmon and Van Fraassen on the Existence of Unobservable Entities: A Matter of Interpretation of Probability. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 11 (3):221-247.
    A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to (...)
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  42. Howard Sankey (2006). Why is It Rational to Believe Scientific Theories Are True? In Colin Cheyne & John Worrall (eds.), Rationality and Reality: Conversations with Alan Musgrave. Springer. 109--132.
    Alan Musgrave is one of the foremost contemporary defenders of scientific realism. He is also one of the leading exponents of Karl Popper’s critical rationalist philosophy. In this paper, my main focus will be on Musgrave’s realism. However, I will emphasize epistemological aspects of realism. This will lead me to address aspects of his critical rationalism as well.
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  43. Howard Sankey (2004). Scientific Realism and the God's Eye Point of View. Epistemologia 27 (2):211-226.
    According to scientific realism, the aim of science is to discover the truth about both observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent, objective reality, which we inhabit. It has been objected by Putnam and others that such a metaphysically realist position presupposes a God’s Eye point of view, of which no coherent sense can be made. In this paper, I will argue for two claims. First, scientific realism does not require the adoption of a God’s Eye point of view. Instead, (...)
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  44. Howard Sankey (2002). Realism, Method and Truth. In Michele Marsonet (ed.), The Problem of Realism. Ashgate. 64.
    But while it is evident that there is a close relation between method and rational justification, substantive questions remain about the relation between method and truth. For example, are scientists whom method licenses in accepting a theory or experimental result thereby licensed in accepting the theory or result as true? Does use of scientific method lead scientists to discover the truth about the world? Questions such as these are questions about the truth-conduciveness of method. While they relate directly to the (...)
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  45. Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
    This paper describes the position of scientific realism and presents the basic lines of argument for the position. Simply put, scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is knowledge of the truth about observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent, objective reality. Scientific realism is supported by several distinct lines of argument. It derives from a non-anthropocentric conception of our place in the natural world, and it is grounded in the epistemology and metaphysics of common sense. Further, (...)
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  46. Robert Segall (2008). Fertility and Scientific Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):237-246.
    It has been claimed that modern long-standing scientific theories are fertile, in the sense of having been progressively successfully modified to meet new experimental observations or theoretical developments in related areas, and that these modifications arise naturally from each preceding version of the theory. McMullin has advanced this form of fertility as a vindication of scientific realism, since if the theories did not approximate the real, the observation would be inexplicable. In response Nolan has denied the existence of fertility in (...)
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  47. Wilfrid Sellars (1976). Is Scientific Realism Tenable? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:307 - 334.
  48. Wilfrid Sellars (1965). Scientific Realism or Irenic Instrumentalism: A Critique of Nagel and Feyerabend on Theoretical Explanation. In Robert Cohen Max Wartofsky (ed.), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. II,.
    Sellars argues against Nagelian instrumentalism for his version (not Feyerabend's) of scientific realism.
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  49. Michael J. Shaffer (2012). Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism. Palgrave MacMillan.
    This book is a sustained defense of the compatibility of the presence of idealizations in the sciences and scientific realism. So, the book is essentially a detailed response to the infamous arguments raised by Nancy Cartwright to the effect that idealization and scientific realism are incompatible.
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  50. Laura J. Snyder (2005). Confirmation for a Modest Realism. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):839-849.
    In the nineteenth century, William Whewell claimed that his confirmation criterion of consilience was a truth-guarantor: we could, he believed, be certain that a consilient theory was true. Since that time Whewell has been much ridiculed for this claim by critics such as J. S. Mill and Bas van Fraassen. I have argued elsewhere that, while Whewell's claim that consilience can guarantee the truth of a theory is clearly wrong, consilience is indeed quite useful as a confirmation criterion (Snyder 2005). (...)
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