Reconstructing Scientific Realism to Rebut the Pessimistic Meta‐induction

Philosophy of Science 74 (1):96-118 (2007)
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Abstract

This paper develops a stronger version of ‘inference-to-the-best explanation’ scientific realism. I argue against three standard assumptions of current realists: realism is confirmed if it provides the best explanation of theories’ predictive success ; the realist claim that successful theories are always approximately true provides the best explanation of their success ; and realists are committed to giving the same sort of truth-based explanation of superseded theories’ success that they give to explain our best current theories’ success. On the positive side, I argue that the confirmation of realism requires explaining theories’ explanatory success, not just their predictive success ; in turn this task requires a richer realist model of explanation that brings into the explanans both successful theories’ epistemic virtues and the standards governing these virtues, as well as truth; this richer realist model is further confirmed because it can better explain the success of theories in gaining wide acceptance among scientists; and the model is further supported because it is superior to ‘preservative realism ’ in providing a plausible rebuttal of the pessimistic meta-induction from the many past successful-but-false theories to the like- lihood that our best current theories are likewise false

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Citations of this work

Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2010 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):75-84.
Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1980 - In Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 211.

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