Hacking's experimental realism: An untenable middle ground

Philosophy of Science 62 (1):60-69 (1995)
Abstract
As Laudan and Fine show, and Boyd concedes, the attempt to infer the truth of scientific realism from the fact that it putatively provides the best explanation of the instrumental success of science is circular, since what is to be shown is precisely the legitimacy of such abductive inferences. Hacking's "experimental argument for scientific realism about entities" is one of the few arguments for scientific realism that purports to avoid this circularity. We argue that Hacking's argument is as dependent on inference to the best explanation (IBE), and therefore as weak, as the other realist arguments
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