Levin and Ghins on the “no miracle” argument and naturalism

On the basis of Levin’s claim that truth is not a scientific explanatory factor, Michel Ghins argues that the “no miracle” argument (NMA) is not scientific, therefore scientific realism is not a scientific hypothesis, and naturalism is wrong. I argue that there are genuine senses of ‘scientific’ and ‘explanation’ in which truth can yield scientific explanations. Hence, the NMA can be considered scientific in the sense that it hinges on a scientific explanation, it follows a typically scientific inferential pattern (IBE), and it is based on an empirical fact (the success of science). Scientific realism, in turn, is scientific in the sense that it is supported both by a meta-level scientific argument (the NMA), and by first level scientific arguments through semantic ascent and generalization. However, both the NMA and scientific realism are not purely scientific, since they go beyond properly scientific concerns, and require additional philosophical reasoning. In turn, naturalism is correct in the sense that philosophy is continuous with science, partly based on it, and potentially equally well warranted. Beside denying the scientific nature of the NMA, Ghins raises some objections to its cogency , to which I reply in the final section
Keywords Naturalism  No miracle argument  Inference to the best explanation  Michel Ghins  Michael Levin  Scientific realism
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0028-4
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