Reconstructing Scientific Realism to Rebut the Pessimistic Meta-induction

Philosophy of Science 74 (1):96-118 (2007)
This paper develops a stronger version of ‘inference-to-the-best explanation’ scientific realism. I argue against three standard assumptions of current realists: realism is confirmed if it provides the best explanation of theories’ predictive success ; the realist claim that successful theories are always approximately true provides the best explanation of their success ; and realists are committed to giving the same sort of truth-based explanation of superseded theories’ success that they give to explain our best current theories’ success.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 positive side, I argue that the confirmation of realism requires explaining theories’ explanatory success, not just their predictive success ; in turn this task requires a richer realist model of explanation that brings into the explanans both successful theories’ epistemic virtues and the standards governing these virtues, as well as truth; this richer realist model is further confirmed because it can better explain the success of theories in gaining wide acceptance among scientists; and the model is further supported because it is superior to ‘preservative realism ’ in providing a plausible rebuttal of the pessimistic meta-induction from the many past successful-but-false theories to the like- lihood that our best current theories are likewise false
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DOI 10.1086/520685
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Seungbae Park (2016). Extensional Scientific Realism Vs. Intensional Scientific Realism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:46-52.
K. Brad Wray (2015). Pessimistic Inductions: Four Varieties. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):61-73.
Seungbae Park (2011). A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):75-84.
Samuel Ruhmkorff (2014). Global and Local Pessimistic Meta-Inductions. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):409-428.

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