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  1. added 2020-03-13
    Still Resisting: Replies to My Critics: K. Brad Wray: Resisting Scientific Realism, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 224 Pp., $105 HB. [REVIEW]K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Metascience 29 (1):33-40.
  2. added 2019-09-23
    Correction to: An Absurd Consequence of Stanford’s New Induction Over the History of Science: A Reply to Sterpetti.Moti Mizrahi - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (5):529-529.
    In the Introduction section, 6th point under the paragraph “Given the parallels between Stanford’s PUA and the PUO, and those between Stanford’s NIS and the NIP, I have sketched the following reductio against Stanford’s NIS (Mizrahi 2016a, pp. 63–64):….. should read as -/- (6) Scientific antirealism is a philosophical theory.
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  3. added 2019-09-09
    How to Be a Historically Motivated Anti-Realist: The Problem of Misleading Evidence.Greg Frost-Arnold - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    The Pessimistic Induction over the history of science argues that because most past theories considered empirically successful in their time turn out to be not even approximately true, most present ones probably aren’t approximately true either. But why did past scientists accept those incorrect theories? Kyle Stanford’s ‘Problem of Unconceived Alternatives’ is one answer to that question: scientists are bad at exhausting the space of plausible hypotheses to explain the evidence available to them. Here, I offer another answer, which I (...)
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  4. added 2019-08-13
    Localism Vs. Individualism for the Scientific Realism Debate.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (3):359-377.
    Localism is the view that the unit of evaluation in the scientific realism debate is a single scientific discipline, sub-discipline, or claim, whereas individualism is the view that the unit of evaluation is a single scientific theory. Localism is compatible, while individualism is not, with a local pessimistic induction and a local selective induction. Asay presents several arguments to support localism and undercut globalism, according to which the unit of evaluation is the set of all scientific disciplines. I argue that (...)
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  5. added 2019-08-13
    The Coherence of Evolutionary Theory with Its Neighboring Theories.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica 67 (2):87-102.
    Evolutionary theory coheres with its neighboring theories, such as the theory of plate tectonics, molecular biology, electromagnetic theory, and the germ theory of disease. These neighboring theories were previously unconceived, but they were later conceived, and then they cohered with evolutionary theory. Since evolutionary theory has been strengthened by its several neighboring theories that were previously unconceived, it will be strengthened by infinitely many hitherto unconceived neighboring theories. This argument for evolutionary theory echoes the problem of unconceived alternatives. Ironically, however, (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    A Critical Introduction to Scientific Realism, by Paul Dicken : London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, Pp. Vii + 214, £28.99. [REVIEW]K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):205-206.
  7. added 2019-06-06
    Comments on P. Kyle Stanford’s “Getting Real” The Hypothesis of Organic Fossil Origins”.Derek Turner - 2010 - Modern Schoolman 87 (3/4):245-250.
  8. added 2019-06-06
    Do Pessimistic Assumptions About Human Behavior Justify Government?Benjamin Powell & Christopher Coyne - 2003 - Journal of Libertarian Studies 17 (4):17-37.
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  9. added 2019-06-05
    P. Kyle Stanford, Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. New York: Oxford University Press , 248 Pp., $45.00. [REVIEW]David Harker - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (2):251-253.
  10. added 2019-05-07
    Other Histories, Other Biologies.Gregory Radick - 2005 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 56:3-.
    Concentrating on genetics, this paper examines the strength of the links between our biological science -- our biology -- and the particular history which brought that science into being. Would quite different histories have produced roughly the same science? Or, on the contrary, would different histories have produced other, quite different biologies? One emphasis throughout is on the kinds of evidence that might be brought to bear from the actual past in order to assess claims about what might have been. (...)
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  11. added 2019-03-07
    Resisting Scientific Realism.K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    In this book K. Brad Wray provides a comprehensive survey of the arguments against scientific realism. In addition to presenting logical considerations that undermine the realists' inferences to the likely truth or approximate truth of our theories, he provides a thorough assessment of the evidence from the history of science. He also examines grounds for a defence of anti-realism, including an anti-realist explanation for the success of our current theories, an account of why false theories can be empirically successful, and (...)
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  12. added 2019-02-22
    An Absurd Consequence of Stanford’s New Induction Over the History of Science: A Reply to Sterpetti.Moti Mizrahi - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (5):515-527.
    In this paper, I respond to Sterpetti’s attempt to defend Kyle P. Stanford’s Problem of Unconceived Alternatives and his New Induction over the History of Science from my reductio argument outlined in Mizrahi :59–68, 2016a). I discuss what I take to be the ways in which Sterpetti has misconstrued my argument against Stanford’s NIS, in particular, that it is a reductio, not a dilemma, as Sterpetti erroneously thinks. I argue that antirealists who endorse Stanford’s NIS still face an absurd consequence (...)
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  13. added 2019-01-30
    Predictive Success, Partial Truth and Duhemian Realism.Gauvain Leconte - 2014 - Synthese 194 (9):3245-3265.
    According to a defense of scientific realism known as the “divide et impera move”, mature scientific theories enjoying predictive success are partially true. This paper investigates a paradigmatic historical case: the prediction, based on Fresnel’s wave theory of light, that a bright spot should figure in the shadow of a disc. Two different derivations of this prediction have been given by both Poisson and Fresnel. I argue that the details of these derivations highlight two problems of indispensability arguments, which state (...)
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  14. added 2019-01-17
    Localism Vs. Individualism for the Scientific Realism Debate.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Philosophical Papers 48 (3):359-377.
    Localism is the view that the unit of evaluation in the scientific realism debate is a single scientific discipline, sub-discipline, or claim, whereas individualism is the view that the unit of evaluation is a single scientific theory. Localism is compatible, while individualism is not, with a local pessimistic induction and a local selective induction. Asay (2016) presents several arguments to support localism and undercut globalism, according to which the unit of evaluation is the set of all scientific disciplines. I argue (...)
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  15. added 2018-12-18
    Scientific Realism and the Future Development of Science.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Diametros 60:61-71.
    Nickles (2016, 2017, forthcoming) raises many original objections against scientific realism. One of them holds that scientific realism originates from the end of history illusion. I reply that this objection is self-defeating and commits the genetic fallacy. Another objection is that it is unknowable whether our descendants will regard our current mature theories as true or false. I reply that this objection entails skepticism about induction, leading to skepticism about the world, which is inconsistent with the appeal to the end (...)
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  16. added 2018-09-06
    The Relevance of Evidence From the History of Science in the Contemporary Realism/Anti-Realism Debate.K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):143-145.
    It is widely assumed that it is the anti-realist who stakes his case on evidence from the history of science. I argue that realists have failed to recognize the need to collect evidence from the history of science to support their methodological claims, and anti-realists do not rely on evidence from the history of science to the extent that many suggest.
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  17. added 2018-06-07
    A Defense of the Suppositionalist View of Hypothetical Entities.Jonathon Daniel Hricko - 2013 - Dissertation,
    When scientists put forward hypotheses, they sometimes involve new kinds of entities, which we can call 'hypothetical entities.' Hypothetical entities are pervasive in the sciences, and some examples include caloric and, up until very recently, the Higgs boson. Some hypothetical entities are discovered, as was the case with the Higgs boson, while scientists conclude that others, like caloric, do not exist. Hypothetical entities pose a number of important challenges for the philosophy of science, and my goal is to develop and (...)
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  18. added 2018-04-30
    Building on Sellars: Concept Formation and Scientific Realism. [REVIEW]Tanya Kelley - 2008 - Metascience 17 (2):257-259.
    Harold Brown has written an ambitious work, which traces the formation of concepts in individuals and cultures, examines case studies of concepts in calculus, mathematics, biology and related fields, summarises important philosophical works on the theory of concepts, and seeks to reconcile scientific realism with conceptual change. Brown considers himself a scientific realist but concedes that this very label is one that depends on a long history of concepts that came before, and may indeed be superseded as conceptual change continues. (...)
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  19. added 2018-03-20
    Optimistic Realism Over Selectivism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):89-106.
    Selectivism holds that some theoretical contents of most present theories will be preserved in future theories. By contrast, optimistic realism holds that most theoretical contents of most present theories will be preserved in future theories. I construct a pessimistic induction over selectivists to undermine selectivism, and an optimistic induction over optimistic realists to support optimistic realism. The former holds that since the selectivists of the early twentieth century were overly cautious about their present theories, those of the early twenty-first century (...)
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  20. added 2018-03-03
    In Defense of the Epistemic Imperative.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (4):435-446.
    Sample (2015) argues that scientists ought not to believe that their theories are true because they cannot fulfill the epistemic obligation to take the diachronic perspective on their theories. I reply that Sample’s argument imposes an inordinately heavy epistemic obligation on scientists, and that it spells doom not only for scientific theories but also for observational beliefs and philosophical ideas that Samples endorses. I also delineate what I take to be a reasonable epistemic obligation for scientists. In sum, philosophers ought (...)
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  21. added 2018-02-23
    Against Selective Realism.Dana Tulodziecki - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):996-1007.
    It has recently been suggested that realist responses to historical cases featured in pessimistic meta-inductions are not as successful as previously thought. In response, selective realists have updated the basic divide et impera strategy specifically to take such cases into account and to argue that more modern realist accounts are immune to the historical challenge. Using a case study—that of the nineteenth-century zymotic theory of disease—I argue that these updated proposals fail and that even the most sophisticated recent realist accounts (...)
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  22. added 2018-02-23
    Abandoning the Realism Debate: Lessons From the Zymotic Theory of Disease.Dana Tulodziecki - 2017 - In Michela Massimi, Jan-Willem Romeijn & G. Schurz (eds.), EPSA 15 Selected Papers, European Studies in Philosophy of Science, Vol. 5. Springer. pp. 61--69.
    In this paper, I examine the transition from zymotic views of disease to germ views in Britain in the mid-1800s. I argue that neither realist nor anti-realist accounts of theory-change can account for this case, because both rely on a well-defined notion of theory, which, as the paper will show, is inapplicable in this instance. After outlining the zymotic theory of disease, I show that, even though it hardly had anything in common with the germ theory, it was highly successful. (...)
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  23. added 2018-02-23
    From Zymes to Germs: Discarding the Realist/Anti-Realist Framework.Dana Tulodziecki - 2016 - In Raphael Scholl & Tilman Sauer (eds.), The Philosophy of Historical Case Studies. Springer. pp. 265--284.
  24. added 2017-11-01
    The Anti-Induction for Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (3):329-342.
    In contemporary philosophy of science, the no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are regarded as the strongest arguments for and against scientific realism, respectively. In this paper, I construct a new argument for scientific realism which I call the anti-induction for scientific realism. It holds that, since past theories were false, present theories are true. I provide an example from the history of science to show that anti-inductions sometimes work in science. The anti-induction for scientific realism has several advantages over (...)
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  25. added 2017-10-31
    Newman’s Objection and the No Miracles Argument.Robert Smithson - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):993-1014.
    Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist’s claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, several theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I will argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman’s Objection is to return to (...)
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  26. added 2017-10-24
    Critiques of Minimal Realism.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Problemos 92:102-114.
    Saatsi’s minimal realism holds that science makes theoretical progress. It is designed to get around the pessimistic induction, to fall between scientific realism and instrumentalism, and to explain the success of scientific theories. I raise the following two objections to it. First, it is not clear whether minimal realism lies between realism and instrumentalism, given that minimal realism does not entail instrumentalism. Second, it is not clear whether minimal realism can explain the success of scientific theories, given that it is (...)
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  27. added 2017-10-18
    The Problem of Unobserved Anomalies.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Filosofija. Sociologija 29 (1):4-12.
    Scientific antirealism, the view that successful theories are empirically adequate, is untenable in light of the problem of unobserved anomalies that since past scientists could not observe the anomalies that caused the replacement of past theories with present theories, present scientists also cannot observe the anomalies that will cause the replacement of present theories with future theories. There are several moves that antirealists would be tempted to make to get around the problem of unobserved anomalies. All of them, however, are (...)
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  28. added 2017-10-05
    Rejecting Mathematical Realism While Accepting Interactive Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Analysis and Metaphysics 17:7-21.
    Indispensablists contend that accepting scientific realism while rejecting mathematical realism involves a double standard. I refute this contention by developing an enhanced version of scientific realism, which I call interactive realism. It holds that interactively successful theories are typically approximately true, and that the interactive unobservable entities posited by them are likely to exist. It is immune to the pessimistic induction while mathematical realism is susceptible to it.
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  29. added 2017-09-14
    Nowa indukcja a nowy realizm.Mateusz Kotowski - 2015 - Filo-Sofija 29:65-78.
    P. Kyle Stanford formulated his New Induction over the History of Science in order to show that underdetermination of scientific theories by evidence is a genuine problem of scientific theorizing about the world and a one that all scientific realists should take seriously. His argument uses historical record to show that because successful theories of the past were typically, in the light of the then available evidence, underdetermined by theories which we could not at the time conceive, we should expect (...)
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  30. added 2017-08-16
    The Grand Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Review of Contemporary Philosophy 17:7-19.
    After decades of intense debate over the old pessimistic induction (Laudan, 1977; Putnam, 1978), it has now become clear that it has at least the following four problems. First, it overlooks the fact that present theories are more successful than past theories. Second, it commits the fallacy of biased statistics. Third, it erroneously groups together past theories from different fields of science. Four, it misses the fact that some theoretical components of past theories were preserved. I argue that these four (...)
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  31. added 2017-08-02
    Should Scientists Embrace Scientific Realism or Antirealism?Seungbae Park - 2019 - Philosophical Forum 50 (1):147-158.
    If scientists embrace scientific realism, they can use a scientific theory to explain and predict observables and unobservables. If, however, they embrace scientific antirealism, they cannot use a scientific theory to explain observables and unobservables, and cannot use a scientific theory to predict unobservables. Given that explanation and prediction are means to make scientific progress, scientists can make more scientific progress, if they embrace scientific realism than if they embrace scientific antirealism.
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  32. added 2017-07-13
    The Unificatory Power of Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (44):59–73.
    The no-miracles argument (Putnam, 1975) holds that science is successful because successful theories are (approximately) true. Frost-Arnold (2010) objects that this argument is unacceptable because it generates neither new predictions nor unifications. It is similar to the unacceptable explanation that opium puts people to sleep because it has a dormative virtue. I reply that on close examination, realism explains not only why some theories are successful but also why successful theories exist in current science. Therefore, it unifies the disparate phenomena.
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  33. added 2017-07-07
    Kuhn, Pedagogy, and Practice: A Local Reading of Structure.Lydia Patton - 2018 - In Moti Mizrahi (ed.), The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
    Moti Mizrahi has argued that Thomas Kuhn does not have a good argument for the incommensurability of successive scientific paradigms. With Rouse, Andersen, and others, I defend a view on which Kuhn primarily was trying to explain scientific practice in Structure. Kuhn, like Hilary Putnam, incorporated sociological and psychological methods into his history of science. On Kuhn’s account, the education and initiation of scientists into a research tradition is a key element in scientific training and in his explanation of incommensurability (...)
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  34. added 2017-06-29
    Realism, Progress and the Historical Turn.Howard Sankey - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (1):201-214.
    The contemporary debate between scientific realism and anti-realism is conditioned by a polarity between two opposing arguments: the realist’s success argument and the anti-realist’s pessimistic induction. This polarity has skewed the debate away from the problem that lies at the source of the debate. From a realist point of view, the historical approach to the philosophy of science which came to the fore in the 1960s gave rise to an unsatisfactory conception of scientific progress. One of the main motivations for (...)
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  35. added 2017-04-19
    Justifying the Special Theory of Relativity with Unconceived Methods.Park Seungbae - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (1):53-62.
    Many realists argue that present scientific theories will not follow the fate of past scientific theories because the former are more successful than the latter. Critics object that realists need to show that present theories have reached the level of success that warrants their truth. I reply that the special theory of relativity has been repeatedly reinforced by unconceived scientific methods, so it will be reinforced by infinitely many unconceived scientific methods. This argument for the special theory of relativity overcomes (...)
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  36. added 2017-04-12
    On Treating Past and Present Scientific Theories Differently.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):63-76.
    Scientific realists argue that present theories are more successful than past theories, so present theories will not be superseded by alternatives, even though past theories were superseded by alternatives. Alai (2016) objects that although present theories are more successful than past theories, they will be replaced by future theories, just as past theories were replaced by present theories. He contends, however, that past theories were partly true, and that present theories are largely true. I argue that Alai’s discrimination between past (...)
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  37. added 2017-03-14
    The History of Science as a Graveyard of Theories: A Philosophers’ Myth?Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (3):263-278.
    According to the antirealist argument known as the pessimistic induction, the history of science is a graveyard of dead scientific theories and abandoned theoretical posits. Support for this pessimistic picture of the history of science usually comes from a few case histories, such as the demise of the phlogiston theory and the abandonment of caloric as the substance of heat. In this article, I wish to take a new approach to examining the ‘history of science as a graveyard of theories’ (...)
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  38. added 2017-02-15
    A Note on “The No Alternatives Argument” by Richard Dawid, Stephan Hartmann and Jan Sprenger.Frederik Herzberg - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):375-384.
    The defence of The No Alternatives Argument in a recent paper by R. Dawid, S. Hartmann and J. Sprenger rests on the assumption that the number of acceptable alternatives to a scientific hypothesis is independent of the complexity of the scientific problem. This note proves a generalisation of the main theorem by Dawid, Hartmann and Sprenger, where this independence assumption is no longer necessary. Some of the other assumptions are also discussed, and the limitations of the no-alternatives argument are explored.
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  39. added 2017-02-14
    Alternatives to Realism.Bas van Fraassen - 1999 - In Robert Klee (ed.), Scientific Inquiry: Readings in the Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press.
  40. added 2017-02-11
    The Problem of How to Evaluate Scientific Theories.Germán Guerrero Pino - 2008 - Discusiones Filosóficas 9 (12):37 - 56.
  41. added 2017-02-06
    Realism and its Alternatives.Peter Railton - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.
  42. added 2017-02-03
    Inconceivable Support Relations: Reply to Stanford –.Sahotra Sarkar - unknown
    Philosophers are drawn to the Atomic Theory like a dog to an old shoe, but my results about realism and anti-realism in Tracking Truth, and the distinctive position I have carved out on their basis, are independent of the fate of my comments about that historical case. I will defend those comments against Stanford’s objections below, but first I will explain the argument of my chapter, because its results undermine not only historically important antirealist positions, but also the approach via (...)
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  43. added 2017-02-01
    Old Evidence and New Theories.Lyle Zynda - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 77 (1):67 - 95.
  44. added 2017-01-29
    Extending the Argument From Unconceived Alternatives: Observations, Models, Predictions, Explanations, Methods, Instruments, Experiments, and Values.Darrell Rowbottom - 2016 - Synthese (10).
    Stanford’s argument against scientific realism focuses on theories, just as many earlier arguments from inconceivability have. However, there are possible arguments against scientific realism involving unconceived (or inconceivable) entities of different types: observations, models, predictions, explanations, methods, instruments, experiments, and values. This paper charts such arguments. In combination, they present the strongest challenge yet to scientific realism.
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  45. added 2017-01-29
    6 The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives.Matthias Egg - 2014 - In Scientific Realism in Particle Physics: A Causal Approach. De Gruyter. pp. 79-102.
  46. added 2017-01-29
    Epistemic Instrumentalism, Exceeding Our Grasp.Arthur Fine - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):135-139.
    In the concluding chapter of Exceeding our Grasp Kyle Stanford outlines a positive response to the central issue raised brilliantly by his book, the problem of unconceived alternatives. This response, called "epistemic instrumentalism", relies on a distinction between instrumental and literal belief. We examine this distinction and with it the viability of Stanford's instrumentalism, which may well be another case of exceeding our grasp.
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  47. added 2017-01-29
    The Man of "Heart" - an Optimistic or Pessimistic Perspective?Anna Zmorzanka - 1983 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 31 (2):155.
  48. added 2017-01-28
    Pluto's Republic Incorporating the Art of the Soluble and Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought.P. B. Medawar - 1982
  49. added 2017-01-27
    The No Alternatives Argument.Richard Dawid, Stephan Hartmann & Jan Sprenger - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):213-234.
    Scientific theories are hard to find, and once scientists have found a theory, H, they often believe that there are not many distinct alternatives to H. But is this belief justified? What should scientists believe about the number of alternatives to H, and how should they change these beliefs in the light of new evidence? These are some of the questions that we will address in this article. We also ask under which conditions failure to find an alternative to H (...)
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  50. added 2017-01-27
    A Historically Informed Modus Ponens Against Scientific Realism: Articulation, Critique, and Restoration.Timothy D. Lyons - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):369-392.
    There are two primary arguments against scientific realism, one pertaining to underdetermination, the other to the history of science. While these arguments are usually treated as altogether distinct, P. Kyle Stanford's ‘problem of unconceived alternatives’ constitutes one kind of synthesis: I propose that Stanford's argument is best understood as a broad modus ponens underdetermination argument, into which he has inserted a unique variant of the historical pessimistic induction. After articulating three criticisms against Stanford's argument and the evidence that he offers, (...)
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