Selection and predictive success

Erkenntnis 72 (3):365 - 377 (2010)
Van Fraassen believes our current best theories enable us to make accurate predictions because they have been subjected to a selection process similar to natural selection. His explanation for the predictive success of our best theories has been subjected to extensive criticism from realists. I aim to clarify the nature of van Fraassen’s selectionist explanation for the success of science. Contrary to what the critics claim, the selectionist can explain why it is that we have successful theories, as well as why it is reasonable to expect past successful theories to be successful in the future. I also argue that the plausibility of the realists’ explanation rests on an inaccurate understanding of the nature of predictive success . The predictive success of our best theories is a relative success.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Ethics   Ontology   Epistemology   Philosophy
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Seungbae Park (2016). Realism Versus Surrealism. Foundations of Science 21 (4):603-614.

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