David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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|
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References found in this work BETA
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Ian Hacking (1983). Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Larry Laudan (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1954). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Matthias Egg (2012). Causal Warrant for Realism About Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):259-280.
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