What you don't know can't hurt you: Realism and the unconceived [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149 - 158 (2008)
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. In this paper, I contend that while Stanford does present a novel antirealist argument, a successful response to the pessimistic induction would likewise defuse the problem of unconceived alternatives, and that a more selective and sophisticated realism than that which he allows is arguably immune to both concerns.
Keywords Realism  Antirealism  Underdetermination  Pessimistic induction  Entity realism  Structural realism  Properties
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Moti Mizrahi (2016). Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.
Matthias Egg (2012). Causal Warrant for Realism About Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):259-280.
Jeremy Butterfield (2012). Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):1-18.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

163 ( #25,100 of 1,941,072 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #94,642 of 1,941,072 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.