Synthese 197 (10):4341-4363 (2020)

Florian J. Boge
Bergische Universität Wuppertal
Howson famously argues that the no-miracles argument, stating that the success of science indicates the approximate truth of scientific theories, is a base rate fallacy: it neglects the possibility of an overall low rate of true scientific theories. Recently a number of authors has suggested that the corresponding probabilistic reconstruction is unjust, as it concerns only the success of one isolated theory. Dawid and Hartmann, in particular, suggest to use the frequency of success in some field of research \ to infer a probability of truth for a new theory from \. I here shed doubts on the justification of this and similar moves and suggest a way to directly bound the probability of truth. As I will demonstrate, my bound can become incompatible with the assumption specific testing and Dawid and Hartmann’s estimate for success.
Keywords Base rate fallacy  No miracles argument  Scientific realism  Inductive skepticism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01925-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,262
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago, IL, USA: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Incompatibility and the Pessimistic Induction: A Challenge for Selective Realism.Florian J. Boge - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-31.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Probabilistic No Miracles Argument.Jan Sprenger - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):173-189.
Exhuming the No-Miracles Argument.Colin Howson - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):205-211.
Kuhnian Theory-Choice and Virtue Convergence: Facing the Base Rate Fallacy.Samuel Schindler - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:30-37.
Why the No‐Miracles Argument Fails.Carl Matheson - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):263 – 279.
The Anti-Induction for Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (3):329-342.
Realist Ennui and the Base Rate Fallacy.P. D. Magnus & Craig Callender - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (3):320-338.
Does the Miracle Argument Embody a Base Rate Fallacy?Cornelis Menke - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 45:103-108.
No New Miracles, Same Old Tricks.Jacob Busch - 2008 - Theoria 74 (2):102-114.
Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.
Truth May Not Explain Predictive Success, but Truthlikeness Does.Gustavo Cevolani & Luca Tambolo - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):590-593.


Added to PP index

Total views
77 ( #141,292 of 2,455,634 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #98,341 of 2,455,634 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes