Approximate truth and scientific realism

Philosophy of Science 59 (1):53-74 (1992)
This paper describes a theory of accuracy or approximate truth and applies it to problems in the realist interpretation of scientific theories. It argues not only that realism requires approximate truth, but that an adequate theory of approximation also presupposes some elements of a realist interpretation of theories. The paper distinguishes approximate truth from vagueness, probability and verisimilitude, and applies it to problems of confirmation and deduction from inaccurate premises. Basic results are cited, but details appear elsewhere. Objections are surveyed, including arguments by Miller, Laymon, and Laudan. Comparison is made with Niiniluoto's theory of verisimilitude, and the utility of his theory for realism assessed
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