Default privilege and bad lots: Underconsideration and explanatory inference

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):91 – 105 (2010)
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The underconsideration argument against inference to the best explanation and scientific realism holds that scientists are not warranted in inferring that the best theory is true, because scientists only ever conceive of a small handful of theories at one time, and as a result, they may not have considered a true theory. However, antirealists have not developed a detailed alternative account of why explanatory inference nevertheless appears so central to scientific practice. In this paper, I provide new defences against some recent objections to the underconsideration argument, while also developing an account of explanatory inference that both survives these criticisms and does not entail realism



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Kareem Khalifa
University of California, Los Angeles

Citations of this work

Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
The Argument from Underconsideration and Relative Realism.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
Reactionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:32-40.
Explanatory Consolidation: From ‘Best’ to ‘Good Enough’.Finnur Dellsén - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (1):157-177.

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References found in this work

Laws and symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York,: Humanities Press.

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