From observability to manipulability: Extending the inductive arguments for realism

Synthese 108 (2):137 - 155 (1996)
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In recent years there have been several attempts to construct inductive arguments for some version of scientific realism. Neither the characteristics of what would count as inductive evidence nor the conclusion to be inferred have been specified in ways that escape sceptical criticism. By introducing the pragmatic criterion of manipulative efficacy for a good theory and by sharpening the specification of the necessary inductive principle, the viability of a mutually supporting pair of argument forms are defended. It is shown that by the use of these forms, taken together, a sequence of inductive arguments could be constructed, given suitable cases histories to serve as evidence. It also shown that the best inductive argument for the most daring realist claim is the weakest when compared with similarly structured arguments for less daring claims.



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Rom Harré
Last affiliation: Oxford University

References found in this work

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1991 - London and New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.

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