From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Antirealism

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1131-1142 (2011)
The Pessimistic Induction (PI) states: most past scientific theories were radically mistaken; therefore, current theories are probably similarly mistaken. But mistaken in what way? On the usual understanding, such past theories are false. However, on widely held views about reference and presupposition, many theoretical claims of previous scientific theories are neither true nor false. And if substantial portions of past theories are truth-valueless, then the PI leads to semantic antirealism. But most current philosophers of science reject semantic antirealism. So PI proponents face a difficult choice: accept either semantic antirealism or an unorthodox position on reference and presupposition.
Keywords pessimistic induction  scientific realism  semantic anti-realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/662265
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,122
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Empty Names.David Braun - 1993 - Noûs 27 (4):449-469.
Theory Change and the Indeterminacy of Reference.Hartry Field - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):462-481.
Speaking of Nothing.Keith S. Donnellan - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (1):3-31.
The Problem of Empty Names.Marga Reimer - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):491 – 506.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Pessimistic Inductions: Four Varieties.K. Brad Wray - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):61-73.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):75-84.
The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo.Michael A. Bishop - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
On the Pessimistic Induction and Two Fallacies.Juha Saatsi - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1088-1098.
Theory Change and Degrees of Success.Ludwig Fahrbach - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1283-1292.
Science and Reality.[author unknown] - 1929 - Journal of Philosophical Studies 4 (16):580-581.
Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science.P. D. Magnus - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):803-819.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
35 ( #150,810 of 2,191,265 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #291,146 of 2,191,265 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature