The argument from underconsideration as grounds for anti-realism: A defence

The anti-realist argument from underconsideration focuses on the fact that, when scientists evaluate theories, they only ever consider a subset of the theories that can account for the available data. As a result, when scientists judge one theory to be superior to competitor theories, they are not warranted in drawing the conclusion that the superior theory is likely true with respect to what it says about unobservable entities and processes. I defend the argument from underconsideration from the objections of Peter Lipton. I argue that the inconsistency that Lipton claims to find in the argument vanishes once we understand what the anti-realist means when she claims that scientists are reliable. I also argue that collapsing the distinction between relative and absolute evaluations, as Lipton recommends, has its costs. Finally, I briefly examine Richard Boyd's influential defence of realism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02698590802567399
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Martin Carrier (1991). What is Wrong with the Miracle Argument??☆. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 22 (1):23-36.
Lawrence Sklar (1981). Do Unborn Hypotheses Have Rights? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (1):17.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Timothy D. Lyons (2009). Non-Competitor Conditions in the Scientific Realism Debate. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):65-84.
Kareem Khalifa (2010). Default Privilege and Bad Lots: Underconsideration and Explanatory Inference. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):91 – 105.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

94 ( #34,506 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.