David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):317-338 (2011)
According to standard scientific realism, science seeks truth and we can justifiably believe that our successful theories achieve, or at least approximate, that goal. In this paper, I discuss the implications of the following competitor thesis: Any theory we may favor has competitors such that we cannot justifiably deny that they are approximately true. After defending that thesis, I articulate three specific threats it poses for standard scientific realism; one is epistemic, the other two are axiological (that is, pertaining to the claim that science seeks truth). I also flag an additional axiological “challenge,” that of how one might justify the pursuit of a primary aim, such as truth. Bracketing epistemic realism, I argue that the axiological threats can be addressed by embracing a refined realist axiological hypothesis, one that specifies a specific subclass of true claims sought in science. And after identifying three potential responses to the axiological “challenge,” I contend that, while standard axiological realism appears to lack the resources required to utilize any of the responses, the refined realist axiology I embrace is well suited to each
|Keywords||Aims of science Axiological realism Scientific realism Underdetermination of theories by data|
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References found in this work BETA
Larry Laudan (1981). A Problem-Solving Approach to Scientific Progress. In Ian Hacking (ed.), Scientific Revolutions. Oxford University Press.
Larry Laudan (1996). Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence. Westview Press.
Larry Laudan (1987). Progress or Rationality? The Prospects for Normative Naturalism. American Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1):19 - 31.
Larry Laudan (1984). Science and Values: The Aims of Science and Their Role in Scientific Debate. University of California Press.
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
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