A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction

The pessimistic induction holds that successful past scientific theories are completely false, so successful current ones are completely false too. I object that past science did not perform as poorly as the pessimistic induction depicts. A close study of the history of science entitles us to construct an optimistic induction that would neutralize the pessimistic induction. Also, even if past theories were completely false, it does not even inductively follow that the current theories will also turn out to be completely false because the current theories are more successful and have better birth qualities than the past theories. Finally, the extra success and better birth qualities justify an anti-induction in favor of the present theories.
Keywords Current Theory  Integrations of Scientific Fields  Past Theory  Pessimistic Induction
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/41478439
 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: 15,831
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

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Moti Mizrahi (forthcoming). Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-10.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michael A. Bishop (2003). The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
Gerald D. Doppelt (2011). From Standard Scientific Realism and Structural Realism to Best Current Theory Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):295-316.
John Worrall (2000). Tracking Track Records, II. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 74 (1):207–235.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

310 ( #2,368 of 1,724,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

62 ( #17,699 of 1,724,865 )

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.