David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 129 (3):371--380 (2001)
Putnam and Laudan separately argue that the falsity of past scientific theories gives us reason to doubt the truth of current theories. Their arguments have been highly influential, and have generated a significant literature over the past couple of decades. Most of this literature attempts to defend scientific realism by attacking the historical evidence on which the premises of the relevant argument are based. However, I argue that both Putnam's and Laudan's arguments are fallacious, and hence attacking their premises is unnecessary. The paper concludes with a discussion of the further historical evidence that would be required if the pessimistic induction is to present a serious threat to scientific realism.
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James Ladyman (2011). Structural Realism Versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air. Synthese 180 (2):87 - 101.
K. Brad Wray (2013). Success and Truth in the Realism/Anti-Realism Debate. Synthese 190 (9):1719-1729.
Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far. Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
P. D. Magnus (2010). Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):803-819.
P. D. Magnus (2006). What's New About the New Induction? Synthese 148 (2):295 - 301.
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