Theory Status, Inductive Realism, and Approximate Truth: No Miracles, No Charades

The concept of approximate truth plays a prominent role in most versions of scientific realism. However, adequately conceptualizing ?approximate truth? has proved challenging. This article argues that the goal of articulating the concept of approximate truth can be advanced by first investigating the processes by which science accords theories the status of accepted or rejected. Accordingly, this article uses a path diagram model as a visual heuristic for the purpose of showing the processes in science that are involved in determining a theory's status. This ?inductive realist? model of theory status then serves as a starting point for explicating an inductive realist view of approximate truth that, it is argued, can explain instances of the success of science, but does not (1) require science's theories to be strictly true in any world or (2) require a metric for measuring how close an approximately true theory is to some strictly true theory. To show the advantages of the inductive realist approach to approximate truth, an example of a major success story of science, the successful eradication of smallpox, is reviewed and then explained
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
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: 13,595
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
Richard Boyd (1984). Scientific Realism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.

View all 34 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
David B. Resnik (1992). Convergent Realism and Approximate Truth. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:421 - 434.
Duncan Macintosh (1994). Partial Convergence and Approximate Truth. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):153-170.
Peter Smith (1998). Approximate Truth and Dynamical Theories. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (2):253-277.
Ernest W. Adams (1982). Approximate Generalizations and Their Idealization. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:199 - 207.
Antonio Diéguez-Lucena (2006). Why Does Laudan's Confutation of Convergent Realism Fail? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 37 (2):393 - 403.
Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
Carl Matheson (1998). Why the No-Miracles Argument Fails. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):263 – 279.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

136 ( #8,788 of 1,692,524 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

13 ( #16,616 of 1,692,524 )

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.