David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 70 (5):913-925 (2003)
Realists respond to Laudan's Pessimistic Induction with what I call the selective confirmation strategy: arguing that only idle parts of past theories have been rejected, while truly success-generating features have been confirmed by further inquiry. I argue first that this strategy is unconvincing without some prospectively applicable criterion of idleness for theoretical posits, and second, that existing efforts to provide one either convict all theoretical posits of idleness (Kitcher) or stand refuted by detailed consideration of the very examples (optical/electromagnetic ether, caloric fluid) to which they appeal (Psillos). Additionally, available avenues for improving on these proposals are unpromising.
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Roman Frigg & Ioannis Votsis (2011). Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism but Were Afraid to Ask. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):227-276.
P. Kyle Stanford (2009). Scientific Realism, the Atomic Theory, and the Catch-All Hypothesis: Can We Test Fundamental Theories Against All Serious Alternatives? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):253-269.
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