Philosophical Studies 111 (2):97 - 120 (2002)

Authors
Eric Barnes
Southern Methodist University
Abstract
The miracle argument for scientific realism can be cast in two forms: according to the miraculous theory argument, realism is the only position which does not make the empirical successes of particular theories miraculous. According to the miraculous choice argument, realism is the only position which does not render the fact that empirically successful theories have been chosen a miracle. A vast literature discusses the miraculous theory argument, but the miraculous choice argument has been unjustifiably neglected. I raise two objections to Richard Boyd's defense of the latter: (1) we have no miracle free account of the emergence of take-off theories and (2) the anti-realist can account for the non-miraculous choice of empirically successful theories by attributing mere empirical adequacy to background theory. I argue that the availability of extra-empirical criteria that are arguably truth conductive but not theory-laden suffices to answer (1), and the unavailability of extra-empirical criteria that are conductive to empirical adequacy but not necessarily to truth (and are also not theory-laden) constitutes to reply to (2). The prospects for a realist victory are at least somewhat promising, on a controversial assumption about the rate at which empirically successful theories emerge.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
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DOI 10.1023/A:1021204812809
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in Scientific Realism.André Kukla - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Paul Edwards (ed.) - 1967 - New York: Macmillan.
The Current Status of Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - In J. Leplin (ed.), Scientific Realism. University of California. pp. 195--222.

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Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Methodological Naturalism and Scientific Success.Yunus Adi Prasetya - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (1):231-256.

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