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  1. Felix Alluntis (1955). The "Vital and Historical Reason" of José Ortega y Gasset. Franciscan Studies 15 (1):60-78.
  2. Theodore Arabatzis (2001). Can a Historian of Science Be a Scientific Realist? Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S531-.
    In this paper I address some of the problems that the historical development of science poses for a realist and discuss whether a realist construal of scientific activity is conducive to historiographical practice. First, I discuss, by means of historical examples, Ian Hacking's defense of entity realism. Second, I try to show, drawing on Kuhn's recent work on incommensurability, that the realism problem is relevant to historiography and that a realist position entails a particular historiographical strategy, which faces problems. Finally, (...)
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  3. Jamin Asay (forthcoming). Going Local: A Defense of Methodological Localism About Scientific Realism. Synthese:1-23.
    Scientific realism and anti-realism are most frequently discussed as global theses: theses that apply equally well across the board to all the various sciences. Against this status quo I defend the localist alternative, a methodological stance on scientific realism that approaches debates on realism at the level of individual sciences, rather than at science itself. After identifying the localist view, I provide a number of arguments in its defense, drawing on the diversity and disunity found in the sciences, as well (...)
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  4. Michael A. Bishop (2003). The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
    Scientific realism says of our best scientific theories that (1) most of their important posits exist and (2) most of their central claims are approximately true. Antirealists sometimes offer the pessimistic induction in reply: since (1) and (2) are false about past successful theories, they are probably false about our own best theories too. The contemporary debate about this argument has turned (and become stuck) on the question, Do the central terms of successful scientific theories refer? For example, Larry Laudan (...)
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  5. Jacob Busch (2008). No New Miracles, Same Old Tricks. Theoria 74 (2):102-114.
    Abstract: Laudan (1984) distinguishes between two senses of success for scientific theories: (i) that a particular theory is successful, and (ii) that the methods for picking out approximately true theories are successful. These two senses of success are reflected in two different ways that the no miracles argument for scientific realism (NMA) may be set out. First, I set out a (traditional) version of NMA that considers the success of particular theories. I then consider a more recent formulation of NMA (...)
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  6. Jacob Busch (2006). Entity Realism Meets the Pessimistic Meta-Induction – The World is Not Enough. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 7 (106):26.
    In the following I briefly set out Devitt's (1997) definition of entity realism and compare it to Hacking's (1983) definition. I then set out the pessimistic induction argument as suggested by Putnam (1978). I present an argument developed by Bertolet (1988) to the effect that Devitt's abductive defence of realism fails. In the light of its failure, Devitt offers the ability of his definition of scientific realism to solve the pessimistic induction argument as a tactical advantage for his definition. I (...)
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  7. Anjan Chakravartty (2008). What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149 - 158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  8. A. Chalmers (2011). Drawing Philosophical Lessons From Perrin's Experiments on Brownian Motion: A Response to van Fraassen. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):711-732.
    In a recent article, van Fraassen has taken issue with the use to which Perrin’s experiments on Brownian motion have been put by philosophers, especially those defending scientific realism. He defends an alternative position by analysing the details of Perrin’s case in its historical context. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen has not done the job well enough and I extend and in some respects attempt to correct his claims by close attention to the historical details.
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  9. Hyundeuk Cheon (2014). Meta-Incommensurability Revisited. Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 80 (2):243-259.
    A popular rejoinder to the potential threat that incommensurability might pose to scientific realism has been the referential response: despite meaning variance, there can be referential continuity, which is sufficient for rational theory choice. This response has been charged with meta-incommensurability, according to which it begs the question by assuming a realist metaphysics. However, realists take it to be a rhetorical device that hinders productive discussion. By reconstructing the debate, this paper aims to demonstrate two things. First, there are unexpected (...)
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  10. Alberto Cordero (2011). Scientific Realism and the Divide Et Impera Strategy: The Ether Saga Revisited. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1120-1130.
  11. Alberto Cordero, Rejected Posits, Realism, and the History of Science.
    Summary: Responding to Laudan’s skeptical reading of history an influential group of realists claim that the seriously wrong claims past successful theories licensed were not really implicated in the predictions that once singled them out as successful. For example, in the case of Fresnel’s theory of light, it is said that although he appealed to the ether he didn’t actually need to in order to derive his famous experimental predictions—in them, we are assured, the ether concept was “idle,” “inessential,” “peripheral” (...)
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  12. Elise Crull, Scientific Realism and the Case of Weak Interactions.
    Advocates of scientic realism typically respond to the challenge of the pessimistic meta-induction by turning to the history of science. The episode most frequently discussed is the shift from Fresnel's wave theory of light to Maxwell's electromagnetism. This particular history is taken to represent one of the hardest problems for the realist, for while it exhibits continuity on the empirical level, it simultaneously represents a dramatic shift in ontology. Thus, various authors have proposed methods for defeating the pessimistic meta-induction based (...)
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  13. Finnur Dellsén (forthcoming). Realism and the Absence of Rivals. Synthese:1-20.
    Among the most serious challenges to scientific realism are arguments for the underdetermination of theory by evidence. This paper defends a version of scientific realism against what is perhaps the most influential recent argument of this sort, viz. Kyle Stanford’s New Induction over the History of Science. An essential part of the defense consists in a probabilistic analysis of the slogan “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. On this basis it is argued that the likelihood of a theory (...)
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  14. Gerald Doppelt (2007). Reconstructing Scientific Realism to Rebut the Pessimistic Meta-Induction. Philosophy of Science 74 (1):96-118.
    This paper develops a stronger version of ‘inference-to-the-best explanation’ scientific realism. I argue against three standard assumptions of current realists: realism is confirmed if it provides the best explanation of theories’ predictive success ; the realist claim that successful theories are always approximately true provides the best explanation of their success ; and realists are committed to giving the same sort of truth-based explanation of superseded theories’ success that they give to explain our best current theories’ success. On the positive (...)
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  15. Matthias Egg (2014). Expanding Our Grasp: Causal Knowledge and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):axu025.
    I argue that scientific realism, insofar as it is only committed to those scientific posits of which we have causal knowledge, is immune to Kyle Stanford’s argument from unconceived alternatives. This causal strategy is shown not to repeat the shortcomings of previous realist responses to Stanford’s argument. Furthermore, I show that the notion of causal knowledge underlying it can be made sufficiently precise by means of conceptual tools recently introduced into the debate on scientific realism. Finally, I apply this strategy (...)
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  16. Patrick Enfield (2008). P. Kyle Stanford Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):881-895.
  17. Michael Esfeld (2005). Scientific Realism and the History of Science. Philosophy 1:1-15.
    The paper considers the two main challenges to scientific realism, stemming from confirmation holism and the underdetermination thesis as well as from semantic holism and the incommensurability thesis. Against the first challenge, it is argued that there are other criteria besides agreement with experience that enable a rational evaluation of competing theories. Against the second challenge, it is argued that at most a thesis of local incommensurability can be defended that is compatible with a minimal version of scientific realism, namely (...)
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  18. Ludwig Fahrbach (2011). Theory Change and Degrees of Success. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1283-1292.
    Scientific realism is the position that success of a scientific theory licenses an inference to its approximate truth. The argument from pessimistic meta-induction maintains that this inference is undermined due to the existence of theories from the history of science that were successful, but false. I aim to counter pessimistic meta-induction and defend scientific realism. To do this, I adopt a notion of success that admits of degrees, and show that our current best theories enjoy far higher degrees of success (...)
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  19. Patrick Forber (2008). Forever Beyond Our Grasp? Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):135-141.
    Does science successfully uncover the deep structure of the natural world? Or are the depths forever beyond our epistemic grasp? Since the decline of logical positivism and logical empiricism, scientific realism has become the consensus view: of course our scientific theories apprehend the deep structure of the world. What else could explain the remarkable success of science? This is the explanationist defense of scientific realism, the “ultimate argument.” Kyle Stanford starts here and, using the history of theorizing about biological inheritance (...)
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  20. Jesse Hobbs (1994). A Limited Defense of the Pessimistic Induction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):171-191.
    The inductive argument from the falsity of most past scientific theories (more than 100 years old) to the falsity of most present ones is defensible, I argue, if it is modified to account for the degrees of theoreticity or observationality in such theories, and the extent to which they are hedged. The case of descriptive astronomy is examined to show that most of the true theories of the 1890s were high in observationality and/or significantly hedged. The false theories of that (...)
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  21. Mateusz Kotowski (2013). O pesymistycznej indukcji. Lectiones and Acroases Philosophicae (1):131-148.
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  22. William H. Krieger & Brian L. Keeley (2006). The Unexpected Realist. In Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge University Press
    There are two ways to do the unexpected. The banal way—let's call it the expectedly unexpected—is simply to chart the waters of what is and is not done, and then set out to do something different. For a philosopher, this can be done by embracing a method of non sequitor or by perhaps inverting some strongly held assumption of the field. The more interesting way— the unexpectedly unexpected—is to transform the expectations themselves; to do something new and contextualize it in (...)
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  23. Daniel Kuby (2016). Feyerabend's ‘The Concept of Intelligibility in Modern Physics’ (1948). Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:57–63.
    This essay introduces the transcription and translation of Paul Feyerabend's "Der Begriff der Verständlichkeit in der modernen Physik" [The concept of intelligibility in modern physics] (1948), which is an early essay written by Paul Feyerabend in 1948 on the topic of intelligibility (Verständlichkeit) and visualizability (Anschaulichkeit) of physical theories. The existence of such essay was likely. It is listed in his bibliography as his first publication. Yet the content of the essay was unknown, as no original or copy is extant (...)
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  24. A. Kukla (2010). Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, by P. Kyle Stanford. Mind 119 (473):243-246.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  25. Marc Lange (2002). Baseball, Pessimistic Inductions and the Turnover Fallacy. Analysis 62 (4):281–285.
    Among the niftiest arguments for scientific anti-realism is the ‘pessimistic induction’ (also sometimes called ‘the disastrous historical meta-induction’). Although various versions of this argument differ in their details (see, for example, Poincare 1952: 160, Putnam 1978: 25, and Laudan 1981), the argument generally begins by recalling the many scientific theories that posit unobservable entities and that at one time or another were widely accepted. The anti-realist then argues that when these old theories were accepted, the evidence for them was quite (...)
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  26. Larry Laudan (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
    This essay contains a partial exploration of some key concepts associated with the epistemology of realist philosophies of science. It shows that neither reference nor approximate truth will do the explanatory jobs that realists expect of them. Equally, several widely-held realist theses about the nature of inter-theoretic relations and scientific progress are scrutinized and found wanting. Finally, it is argued that the history of science, far from confirming scientific realism, decisively confutes several extant versions of avowedly 'naturalistic' forms of scientific (...)
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  27. Peter J. Lewis (2001). Why the Pessimistic Induction is a Fallacy. Synthese 129 (3):371--380.
    Putnam and Laudan separately argue that the falsity of past scientific theories gives us reason to doubt the truth of current theories. Their arguments have been highly influential, and have generated a significant literature over the past couple of decades. Most of this literature attempts to defend scientific realism by attacking the historical evidence on which the premises of the relevant argument are based. However, I argue that both Putnam's and Laudan's arguments are fallacious, and hence attacking their premises is (...)
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  28. John Losee (1993). A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press.
    This new edition brings up to date this accessible study of the philosophy of science. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, scientists and philosophers have raised questions about the proper evaluation of scientific interpretations. A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science is an exposition of differing viewpoints on issues such as the distinction between scientific inquiry and other types of interpretation, the relationship between theories and observation reports; the evaluation of competing theories; and the nature of progress in (...)
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  29. Timothy D. Lyons (2006). Scientific Realism and the Stratagema de Divide Et Impera. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):537-560.
    In response to historical challenges, advocates of a sophisticated variant of scientific realism emphasize that theoretical systems can be divided into numerous constituents. Setting aside any epistemic commitment to the systems themselves, they maintain that we can justifiably believe those specific constituents that are deployed in key successful predictions. Stathis Psillos articulates an explicit criterion for discerning exactly which theoretical constituents qualify. I critique Psillos's criterion in detail. I then test the more general deployment realist intuition against a set of (...)
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  30. P. D. Magnus (2010). Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):803-819.
    Kyle Stanford has recently claimed to offer a new challenge to scientific realism. Taking his inspiration from the familiar Pessimistic Induction (PI), Stanford proposes a New Induction (NI). Contra Anjan Chakravartty’s suggestion that the NI is a ‘red herring’, I argue that it reveals something deep and important about science. The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, which lies at the heart of the NI, yields a richer anti-realism than the PI. It explains why science falls short when it falls short, and (...)
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  31. James W. McAllister (1993). Scientific Realism and the Criteria for Theory-Choice. Erkenntnis 38 (2):203 - 222.
    The central terms of certain theories which were valued highly in the past, such as the phlogiston theory, are now believed by realists not to refer. Laudan and others have claimed that, in the light of the existence of such theories, scientific realism is untenable. This paper argues in response that realism is consistent with — and indeed is able to explain — such theories' having been highly valued and yet not being close to the truth. It follows that the (...)
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  32. Sam Mitchell (2009). Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives. By P. Kyle Stanford. Metaphilosophy 40 (5):719-723.
  33. Moti Mizrahi (2016). Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (PUA). From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy (Mizrahi 2014), it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key (...)
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  34. Moti Mizrahi (2015). Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (2):129-148.
    In this article, I argue that arguments from the history of science against scientific realism, like the arguments advanced by P. Kyle Stanford and Peter Vickers, are fallacious. The so-called Old Induction, like Vickers's, and New Induction, like Stanford's, are both guilty of confirmation bias—specifically, of cherry-picking evidence that allegedly challenges scientific realism while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I also show that the historical episodes that Stanford adduces in support of his New Induction are indeterminate between a pessimistic and (...)
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  35. Moti Mizrahi (2015). A Reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis?”. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (11):21-24.
    I reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis? A Response to Mizrahi and Patton”.
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  36. Moti Mizrahi (2013). The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far. Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then (...)
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  37. Matteo Morganti (2012). New Realism and Scientific Realism. Quaestio 12:535-549.
    The recent ‘new realist’ wave in philosophy reacts to the postmodernist/deconstructivist rejection of the notions of truth and objectivity by affirming the priority of the real over the subjective and socially constructed. Crucial in this dynamics is, among other things, the refusal of the anti-scientific stance integral to the non-realist view. In light of this, it is advisable to look at the new realism vs. antirealism debate from the perspective of the seemingly more local dispute concerning scientific realism vs. antirealism. (...)
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  38. Vincent C. Müller (1999). Realismus und Referenz: Arten von Arten [Realism and Reference: Kinds of Kinds]. Dissertation, Universität Hamburg
    Die gegenwärtig unter dem Titel ›Realismus‹ geführten Debatten in der Philosophie befinden sich nach allgemeiner Ansicht in einem Zustand größter Verwirrung, so daß es nützlich erscheint, ein wenig Ordnung in die theoretischen Optionen zu bringen bevor man für die eine oder andere Auffassung Partei ergreift. In der vorliegenden Arbeit wird dafür argumentiert, daß sich ein systematisch zusammenhängendes Zentrum dieser Debatten mit Hilfe des Begriffes der Referenz ordnen läßt. Nach der Analyse einiger klassischer Positionen soll ein Rahmen erstellt werden, innerhalb dessen (...)
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  39. Mark Newman (2005). Ramsey Sentence Realism as an Answer to the Pessimistic Meta-Induction. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1373-1384.
    John Worrall recently provided an account of epistemic structural realism, which explains the success of science by arguing for the correct mathematical structure of our theories. He accounts for the historical failures of science by pointing to bloated ontological interpretations of theoretical terms. In this paper I argue that Worrall’s account suffers from five serious problems. I also show that Pierre Cruse and David Papineau have developed a rival structural realism that solves all of the problems faced by Worrall. This (...)
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  40. Burkay Ozturk (forthcoming). Of German Tanks and Scientific Theories: Estimating The Number of Unconceived Alternatives. Southwest Philosophy Review.
    During the Second World War, the Allies faced a question colloquially known as the “German Tank Problem”: how many tanks will the Axis ever produce? The answer resulted from an elegant probabilistic argument which was used by Allied mathematicians to make successful upper-bound estimates for the total Axis tank production. This paper shows that if two empirical postulates are true of the history of science, a parallel argument can be used to come up with lower-bound estimates for the number of (...)
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  41. Seungbae Park (forthcoming). The Uniformity Principle Vs. The Disuniformity Principle. Acta Analytica:1-10.
    The pessimistic induction is built upon the uniformity principle that the future resembles the past. In daily scientific activities, however, scientists sometimes rely on what I call the disuniformity principle that the future differs from the past. They do not give up their research projects despite the repeated failures. They believe that they will succeed although they failed repeatedly, and as a result they achieve what they intended to achieve. Given that the disuniformity principle is useful in certain cases in (...)
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  42. Seungbae Park (forthcoming). Why Should We Be Pessimistic About Antirealists and Pessimists? Foundations of Science:1-13.
    The pessimistic induction over scientific theories (Poincaré, 1905/1952) holds that present theories will be overthrown as were past theories. The pessimistic induction over scientists (Stanford, 2006) holds that present scientists cannot conceive of future theories just as past scientists could not conceive of present theories. The pessimistic induction over realists (Wray, 2013) holds that present realists are wrong about present theories just as past realists were wrong about past theories. The pessimistic induction over antirealist theories (Park, 2014) holds that the (...)
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  43. Seungbae Park (forthcoming). How to Foster Scientists' Creativity. Creativity Studies.
    Scientific progress can be credited to creative scientists, who constantly ideate new theories and experiments. I explore how the three central positions in philosophy of science – scientific realism, scientific pessimism, and instrumentalism – are related to the practical issue of how scientists’ creativity can be fostered. I argue that realism encourages scientists to entertain new theories and experiments, pessimism discourages them from doing so, and instrumentalism falls in between realism and pessimism in terms of its effects on scientists’ creativity. (...)
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  44. Seungbae Park (2016). Extensional Scientific Realism Vs. Intensional Scientific Realism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:46-52.
    Extensional scientific realism is the view that each believable scientific theory is supported by the unique first-order evidence for it and that if we want to believe that it is true, we should rely on its unique first-order evidence. In contrast, intensional scientific realism is the view that all believable scientific theories have a common feature and that we should rely on it to determine whether a theory is believable or not. Fitzpatrick argues that extensional realism is immune, while intensional (...)
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  45. Seungbae Park (2016). Refutations of the Two Pessimistic Inductions. Philosophia 44 (3):835-844.
    Both the pessimistic inductions over scientific theories and over scientists are built upon what I call proportional pessimism: as theories are discarded, the inductive rationale for concluding that the next theories will be discarded grows stronger. I argue that proportional pessimism clashes with the fact that present theories are more successful than past theories, and with the implications of the assumptions that there are finitely and infinitely many unconceived alternatives. Therefore, the two pessimistic inductions collapse along with proportional pessimism.
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  46. Seungbae Park (2016). Realism Versus Surrealism. Foundations of Science 21 (4):603-614.
    Realism and surrealism claim, respectively, that a scientific theory is successful because it is true, and because the world operates as if it is true. Lyons :891–901, 2003) criticizes realism and argues that surrealism is superior to realism. I reply that Lyons’s criticisms against realism fail. I also attempt to establish the following two claims: Realism and surrealism lead to a useful prescription and a useless prescription, respectively, on how to make an unsuccessful theory successful. Realism and surrealism give the (...)
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  47. Seungbae Park (2014). A Pessimistic Induction Against Scientific Antirealism. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 21 (1):3-21.
    There are nine antirealist explanations of the success of science in the literature. I raise difficulties against all of them except the latest one, and then construct a pessimistic induction that the latest one will turn out to be problematic because its eight forerunners turned out to be problematic. This pessimistic induction is on a par with the traditional pessimistic induction that successful present scientific theories will be revealed to be false because successful past scientific theories were revealed to be (...)
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  48. Seungbae Park (2014). Approximate Truth Vs. Empirical Adequacy. Epistemologia 37 (1):106-118.
    Suppose that scientific realists believe that a successful theory is approximately true, and that constructive empiricists believe that it is empirically adequate. Whose belief is more likely to be false? The problem of underdetermination does not yield an answer to this question one way or the other, but the pessimistic induction does. The pessimistic induction, if correct, indicates that successful theories, both past and current, are empirically inadequate. It is arguable, however, that they are approximately true. Therefore, scientific realists overall (...)
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  49. Seungbae Park (2014). On the Evolutionary Defense of Scientific Antirealism. Axiomathes 24 (2):263-273.
    Van Fraassen (1980) claims that successful theories exist today because successful theories survive and unsuccessful ones die. Wray (2007, 2010) appeals to Stanford’s new pessimistic induction (2006), arguing that van Fraassen’s selectionist explanation is better than the realist explanation that successful theories exist because they are approximately true. I argue that if the pessimistic induction is correct, then the evolutionary explanation is neither true nor empirically adequate, and that realism is better than selectionism because realism explains more phenomena in science (...)
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  50. Seungbae Park (2011). Coherence of Our Best Scientific Theories. Foundations of Science 16 (1):21-30.
    Putnam (1975) infers from the success of a scientific theory to its approximate truth and the reference of its key term. Laudan (1981) objects that some past theories were successful, and yet their key terms did not refer, so they were not even approximately true. Kitcher (1993) replies that the past theories are approximately true because their working posits are true, although their idle posits are false. In contrast, I argue that successful theories which cohere with each other are approximately (...)
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