Synthese 194 (7):2427-2446 (2017)

Authors
Finnur Dellsén
University of Iceland
Abstract
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 being underdetermined depends crucially on social and historical factors, such as the structure of scientific communities and the time that has passed since the theory first became accepted. This is then shown to serve as the epistemological foundation for a version of scientific realism which avoids Stanford’s New Induction in a principled and non-question-begging way
Keywords Scientific realism  The New Induction  The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives  Evidence of absence  Absence of evidence
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1059-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Presume It Not: True Causes in the Search for the Basis of Heredity.Aaron Novick & Raphael Scholl - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axy001.
Reactionary Responses to the Bad Lot Objection.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:32-40.
Should Scientific Realists Embrace Theoretical Conservatism?Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A:30-38.

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