The History of Science as a Graveyard of Theories: A Philosophers’ Myth?


Authors
Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology
Abstract
According to the antirealist argument known as the pessimistic induction, the history of science is a graveyard of dead scientific theories and abandoned theoretical posits. Support for this pessimistic picture of the history of science usually comes from a few case histories, such as the demise of the phlogiston theory and the abandonment of caloric as the substance of heat. In this article, I wish to take a new approach to examining the ‘history of science as a graveyard of theories’ picture. Using JSTOR Data for Research and Springer Exemplar, I present new lines of evidence that are at odds with this pessimistic picture of the history of science. When rigorously tested against the historical record of science, I submit, the pessimistic picture of the history of science as a graveyard of dead theories and abandoned posits may turn out to be no more than a philosophers’ myth.
Keywords graveyard picture  pessimistic induction  scientific realism
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Reprint years 2017
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2017.1316113
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References found in this work BETA

A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
A Practical Study of Argument.Trudy Govier - 1991 - Wadsworth Pub. Co..

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Optimistic Realism Over Selectivism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):89-106.

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