Explanatory warrant for scientific realism

Synthese 161 (2):271 - 282 (2008)
Nancy Cartwright relies upon an inference pattern known as inference to the best causal explanation (IBCE) to support a limited form of entity realism, according to which we are warranted in believing in entities that purportively cause observable effects. IBCE, as usually understood, is valid, even though all other forms of inference to the best explanation (IBE) are usually understood to be invalid. We argue that IBCE and IBE are in the same boat with respect to their ability to support realist conclusions. Either rule can be interpreted as valid, this is a matter of semantic convention. However, doing so deprives the rule of the empirical content the realist needs, requiring the realist to find independent warrant for a strong (theoretical or causal) premise. We then examine the proposed means of obtaining this warrant, and find them as inadequate in the case of IBCE as they are in the case of IBE.
Keywords Realism  Inference to the best explanation  Inference to the best casual explanation
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: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    Arthur Fine (1991). Piecemeal Realism. Philosophical Studies 61 (1-2):79 - 96.

    View all 9 references

    Citations of this work BETA
    Matthias Egg (2012). Causal Warrant for Realism About Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):259-280.
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    99 ( #9,109 of 1,088,781 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    37 ( #1,987 of 1,088,781 )

    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.