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  1. How to Be a Scientific Realist (If at All): A Study of Partial Realism.Dean Peters - 2012 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    "Partial realism" is a common position in the contemporary philosophy of science literature. It states that the "essential" elements of empirically successful scientific theories accurately represent corresponding features the world. This thesis makes several novel contributions related to this position. Firstly, it offers a new definition of the concept of “empirical success”, representing a principled merger between the use-novelty and unification accounts. Secondly, it provides a comparative critical analysis of various accounts of which elements are "essential" to the success of (...)
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  • Disarming the Ultimate Historical Challenge to Scientific Realism.Peter Vickers - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):987-1012.
    Probably the most dramatic historical challenge to scientific realism concerns Arnold Sommerfeld’s derivation of the fine structure energy levels of hydrogen. Not only were his predictions good, he derived exactly the same formula that would later drop out of Dirac’s 1928 treatment. And yet the most central elements of Sommerfeld’s theory were not even approximately true: his derivation leans heavily on a classical approach to elliptical orbits, including the necessary adjustments to these orbits demanded by relativity. Even physicists call Sommerfeld’s (...)
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  • Naturalism and the Success of Science.Peter Harrison - 2018 - Religious Studies:1-18.
    Methodological naturalism is usually regarded as compatible with a range of religious commitments on the part of scientific practitioners and it is typically assumed that methodological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. Against this, it has been argued that the cumulative success of the sciences, conducted in conformity with the principle of methodological naturalism, actually provides compelling evidence for the truth of metaphysical naturalism. In this article I assess the argument for naturalism from the history of science and suggest that (...)
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  • Realism on the Rocks: Novel Success and James Hutton's Theory of the Earth.Thomas Rossetter - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 67:1-13.
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  • A Confrontation of Convergent Realism.Peter Vickers - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):189-211.
  • Towards a Realistic Success-to-Truth Inference for Scientific Realism.Peter Vickers - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):571-585.
    A success-to-truth inference has always been at the heart of scientific realist positions. But all attempts to articulate the inference have met with very significant challenges. This paper reconstructs the evolution of this inference, and brings together a number of qualifications in an attempt to articulate a contemporary success-to-truth inference which is realistic. I argue that this contemporary version of the inference has a chance, at least, of overcoming the historical challenges which have been proffered to date. However, there is (...)
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  • Theoretical Fertility McMullin-Style.Samuel Schindler - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):151-173.
    A theory’s fertility is one of the standard theoretical virtues. But how is it to be construed? In current philosophical discourse, particularly in the realism debate, theoretical fertility is usually understood in terms of novel success: a theory is fertile if it manages to make successful novel predictions. Another, more permissible, notion of fertility can be found in the work of Ernan McMullin. This kind of fertility, McMullin claims, gives us just as strong grounds for realism. My paper critically assesses (...)
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  • Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - 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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  • The Isotope Effect: Prediction, Discussion, and Discovery.Helge Kragh - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):176-183.
    The precise position of a spectral line emitted by an atomic system depends on the mass of the atomic nucleus and is therefore different for isotopes belonging to the same element. The possible presence of an isotope effect followed from Bohr's atomic theory of 1913, but it took several years before it was confirmed experimentally. Its early history involves the childhood not only of the quantum atom, but also of the concept of isotopy. Bohr's prediction of the isotope effect was (...)
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  • Understanding the Selective Realist Defence Against the PMI.Peter Vickers - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3221-3232.
    One of the popular realist responses to the pessimistic meta-induction is the ‘selective’ move, where a realist only commits to the ‘working posits’ of a successful theory, and withholds commitment to ‘idle posits’. Antirealists often criticise selective realists for not being able to articulate exactly what is meant by ‘working’ and/or not being able to identify the working posits except in hindsight. This paper aims to establish two results: sometimes a proposition is, in an important sense, ‘doing work’, and yet (...)
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  • Quo Vadis Selective Scientific Realism?Peter Vickers - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):118-121.
    My current opinion is that the selective realist is in a strong position vis-à-vis the historical challenges. Certainly the realist needs to invoke some careful criteria for realist commitment, and various nuances concerning the nature of her epistemic commitment, and this may raise the ‘death by a thousand qualifications’ question mark. But the concern is unfounded: the qualifications are all independently motivated, and indeed necessary given the philosophical complexity. Qualifications are to be welcomed here; often the truth is far from (...)
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  • The Isotope Effect: Prediction, Discussion, and Discovery.Helge Kragh - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):176-183.
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