David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Papers 32 (2):157-170 (2003)
A scientific theory is successful, according to Stanford (2000), because it is suficiently observationally similar to its corresponding true theory. The Ptolemaic theory, for example, is successful because it is sufficiently similar to the Copernican theory at the observational level. The suggestion meets the scientific realists' request to explain the success of science without committing to the (approximate) truth of successful scientific theories. I argue that Stanford's proposal has a conceptual flaw. A conceptually sound explanation, I claim, respects the ontological order between properties. A dependent property is to be explained in terms of its underlying property, not the other way around. The applicability of this point goes well beyond the realm of the debate between scientific realists and antirealists. Any philosophers should keep the point in mind when they attempt to give an explanation of a property in their field whatever it may be.
|Keywords||success Stanford underlying property dependent property predictive similarity|
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References found in this work BETA
Philip Kitcher (1993). The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions. Oxford University Press.
Larry Laudan (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Hilary Putnam (1975). Philosophical Papers. Cambridge University Press.
Arthur Fine (1986). Unnatural Attitudes: Realist and Instrumentalist Attachments to Science. Mind 95 (378):149-179.
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