Realist Ennui and the Base Rate Fallacy

Philosophy of Science 71 (3):320-338 (2004)

Authors
P. D. Magnus
State University of New York, Albany
Craig Callender
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
The no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are arguably the main considerations for and against scientific realism. Recently these arguments have been accused of embodying a familiar, seductive fallacy. In each case, we are tricked by a base rate fallacy, one much-discussed in the psychological literature. In this paper we consider this accusation and use it as an explanation for why the two most prominent `wholesale' arguments in the literature seem irresolvable. Framed probabilistically, we can see very clearly why realists and anti-realists have been talking past one another. We then formulate a dilemma for advocates of either argument, answer potential objections to our criticism, discuss what remains (if anything) of these two major arguments, and then speculate about a future philosophy of science freed from these two arguments. In so doing, we connect the point about base rates to the wholesale/retail distinction; we believe it hints at an answer of how to distinguish profitable from unprofitable realism debates. In short, we offer a probabilistic analysis of the feeling of ennui afflicting contemporary philosophy of science.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/421536
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Robustness, Discordance, and Relevance.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):650-661.
How to Split a Theory: Defending Selective Realism and Convergence Without Proximity.D. Harker - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):79-106.

View all 46 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Exhuming the No-Miracles Argument.Colin Howson - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):205-211.
Pragmatically Before Ecologically Valid Tasks.Laura Macchi - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):778-779.
Deux Facettes de L’Ennui Chez Madame de Graffigny : De L’Ennui Quotidien À L’Ennui Tragique.Raoudha Kallel - 2008 - Lumen: Selected Proceedings From the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 27:137.
Who Commits the Base Rate Fallacy?Isaac Levi - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (3):502.
Does the Miracle Argument Embody a Base Rate Fallacy?Cornelis Menke - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 45:103-108.
Effects of Active Passive Causal Behaviors on the Base Rate Fallacy.Pc Amrhein & Ml Christophersen - 1990 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 28 (6):516-516.
Normativity, the Base-Rate Fallacy, and Some Problems for Retail Realism.Paul Dicken - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):563-570.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
254 ( #20,990 of 2,320,102 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
36 ( #14,342 of 2,320,102 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature