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  1. Mario Alai (2014). Novel Predictions and the No Miracle Argument. Erkenntnis 79 (2):297-326.
    Predictivists use the no miracle argument to argue that “novel” predictions are decisive evidence for theories, while mere accommodation of “old” data cannot confirm to a significant degree. But deductivists claim that since confirmation is a logical theory-data relationship, predicted data cannot confirm more than merely deduced data, and cite historical cases in which known data confirmed theories quite strongly. On the other hand, the advantage of prediction over accommodation is needed by scientific realists to resist Laudan’s criticisms of the (...)
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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. Grzegorz Bugajak (2009). Philosophy of Nature, Realism, and the Postulated Ontology of Scientific Theories. In Adam Świeżyński (ed.), Philosophy of Nature Today, Wydawnictwo UKSW, Warszawa. 59–80.
    The first part of the paper is a metatheoretical consideration of such philosophy of nature which allows for using scientific results in philosophical analyses. An epistemological 'judgment' of those results becomes a preliminary task of this discipline: this involves taking a position in the controversy between realistic and antirealistic accounts of science. It is shown that a philosopher of nature has to be a realist, if his task to build true ontology of reality is to be achieved. At the same (...)
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  4. Grzegorz Bugajak (2004). Theology and Genetic Engineering: New Incarnation of the Old Conflict? In Ulf Görman, Willem B. Drees & Hubert Meisinger (eds.), Studies in Science and Theology, vol. 9(2003–2004), Lunds Universitet, Lund. 127–143.
    It is widely acknowledged among science˗and˗theology thinkers – or at least desired – that we have left behind the era of conflict between science and religion. An approach which avoids conflict by pointing out that science and religion employ two different methodologies and therefore occupy two separate magisteria, is, however, unsatisfactory for both – the advocates of a fruitful dialogue between these two realms of human activity as well as the most vigorous opponents of possible conciliation, and the latter still (...)
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  5. Alberto Cordero (2011). Scientific Realism and the Divide Et Impera Strategy: The Ether Saga Revisited. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1120-1130.
  6. Joel Katzav (2013). Hybrid Models, Climate Models, and Inference to the Best Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):107-129.
    I examine the warrants we have in light of the empirical successes of a kind of model I call ‘hybrid models’, a kind that includes climate models among its members. I argue that these warrants’ strengths depend on inferential virtues that are not just explanatory virtues, contrary to what would be the case if inference to the best explanation (IBE) provided the warrants. I also argue that the warrants in question, unlike those IBE provides, guide inferences only to model implications (...)
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. David Papineau (1988). Relativism and Realism in Science. Kluwer.
  10. James Van Cleve (2000). Devitt's Realism and Truth. Noûs 34 (4):657–663.
Convergence and Scientific Realism
  1. D. Cummiskey (1992). Reference Failure and Scientific Realism: A Response to the Meta-Induction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (1):21-40.
    Pure causal theories of reference cannot account for cases of theoretical term reference failure and do not capture the scientific point of introducing new theoretical terminology. In order to account for paradigm cases of reference failure and the point of new theoretical terminology, a descriptive element must play a role in fixing the reference of theoretical terms. Richard Boyd's concept of theory constituitive metaphors provides the necessary descriptive element in reference fixing. In addition to providing a plausible account of reference (...)
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  2. David Harker (2010). Two Arguments for Scientific Realism Unified. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):192-202.
  3. Duncan Macintosh (1994). Partial Convergence and Approximate Truth. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):153-170.
    Scientific Realists argue that it would be a miracle if scientific theories were getting more predictive without getting closer to the truth; so they must be getting closer to the truth. Van Fraassen, Laudan et al. argue that owing to the underdetermination of theory by data (UDT) for all we know, it is a miracle, a fluke. So we should not believe in even the approximate truth of theories. I argue that there is a test for who is right: suppose (...)
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  4. Howard Sankey (2009). A Curious Disagreement: Response to Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A 40 (2):210-212.
    In this response, doubts are expressed relating to the treatment by Hoyningen-Huene and Oberheim of the relation between incommensurability and content comparison. A realist response is presented to their treatment of ontological replacement. Further questions are raised about the coherence of the neo-Kantian idea of the world-in-itself as well as the phenomenal worlds hypothesis. The notion of common sense is clarified. Meta-incommensurability is dismissed as a rhetorical device which obstructs productive discussion.
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  5. B. Smith (1996). In Defense of Extreme (Fallibilistic) Apriorism. Journal of Libertarian Studies 12:179–192.
    We presuppose a position of scientific realism to the effect (i) that the world exists and (ii) that through the working out of ever more sophisticated theories our scientific picture of reality will approximate ever more closely to the world as it really is. Against this background consider, now, the following question: 1. Do the empirical theories with the help of which we seek to approximate a good or true picture of reality rest on any non-empirical presuppositions? One can answer (...)
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  6. Ioannis Votsis (2007). Review of Kyle Stanford’s Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. [REVIEW] International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (1):103 – 106.
    In recent years, two challenges stand out against scientific realism: the argument from the underdetermination of theories by evidence (UTE) and the pessimistic induction argument (PI). In his book, Kyle Stanford accepts the gravity of these challenges, but argues that the most serious and powerful challenge to scientific realism has been neglected. The problem of unconceived alternatives (PUA), as he calls it, is introduced in chapter one and refined in chapter two. In short, PUA holds that throughout history scientists have (...)
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Abduction and Scientific Realism
  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. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Sara Cannizzaro (2009). “The Line of Beauty”. In Leonard Sbrocchi & John Deely (eds.), Semiotics 2008. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Lefteris Farmakis & Stephan Hartmann (2005). Review of Inference to the Best Explanation by Peter Lipton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (6).
  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. Jesse Hobbs (1993). Book Review:Inference to the Best Explanation Peter Lipton. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 60 (4):679-.
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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive? International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-13.
    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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Seungbae Park (2014). A Pessimistic Induction Against Scientific Antirealism. Organon F 21 (1):3-21.
    There are nine antirealist explanations of the success of science in the literature. I raise difficulties against all of them except the latest one, and then construct a pessimistic induction that the latest one will turn out to be problematic because its eight forerunners turned out to be problematic. This pessimistic induction is on a par with the traditional pessimistic induction that successful present scientific theories will be revealed to be false because successful past scientific theories were revealed to be (...)
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  26. Robert Pierson & Richard Reiner (2008). Explanatory Warrant for Scientific Realism. Synthese 161 (2):271 - 282.
    Nancy Cartwright relies upon an inference pattern known as inference to the best causal explanation (IBCE) to support a limited form of entity realism, according to which we are warranted in believing in entities that purportively cause observable effects. IBCE, as usually understood, is valid, even though all other forms of inference to the best explanation (IBE) are usually understood to be invalid. We argue that IBCE and IBE are in the same boat with respect to their ability to support (...)
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  27. Stathis Psillos (1996). On Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Reasoning. Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):31-47.
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  28. Yvonne Raley (2007). Best Explanation and Scientific Realism. Philosophical Forum 38 (2):147–157.
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  29. Howard Sankey (2008). Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science. Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  30. Howard Sankey (2000). Methodological Pluralism, Normative Naturalism and the Realist Aim of Science. In Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method.
    There are two chief tasks which confront the philosophy of scientific method. The first task is to specify the methodology which serves as the objective ground for scientific theory appraisal and acceptance. The second task is to explain how application of this methodology leads to advance toward the aim(s) of science. In other words, the goal of the theory of method is to provide an integrated explanation of both rational scientific theory choice and scientific progress.
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  31. Gerhard Schurz & Ioannis Votsis (2011). Editorial Introduction to Scientific Realism Quo Vadis? Theories, Structures, Underdetermination and Reference. Synthese 180 (2):79 - 85.
  32. 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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  33. Hamid Vahid (2001). Realism and the Epistemological Significance of Inference to the Best Explanation. Dialogue (Canadian Philosophical Association) 40 (03):487-507.
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  34. K. Brad Wray (2012). Epistemic Privilege and the Success of Science. Noûs 46 (3):375-385.
    Realists and anti-realists disagree about whether contemporary scientists are epistemically privileged. Because the issue of epistemic privilege figures in arguments in support of and against theoretical knowledge in science, it is worth examining whether or not there is any basis for assuming such privilege. I show that arguments that try to explain the success of science by appeal to some sort of epistemic privilege have, so far, failed. They have failed to give us reason to believe (i) that scientists are (...)
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