From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Antirealism

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1131-1142 (2011)
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 proponents face a difficult choice: accept either semantic antirealism or an unorthodox position on reference and presupposition.
Keywords pessimistic induction  scientific realism  semantic anti-realism
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DOI 10.1086/662265
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References found in this work BETA
David Braun (1993). Empty Names. Noûs 27 (4):449-469.
Keith S. Donnellan (1974). Speaking of Nothing. Philosophical Review 83 (1):3-31.
Marga Reimer (2001). The Problem of Empty Names. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):491 – 506.

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Citations of this work BETA
K. Brad Wray (2015). Pessimistic Inductions: Four Varieties. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):61-73.

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[author unknown] (1929). Science and Reality. Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (16):580-581.

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