The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far

Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226 (2013)
Authors
Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology
Abstract
In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then the pessimistic induction is an utter failure that should be abandoned by scientific anti-realists.
Keywords anti-realism  pessimistic induction  scientific realism
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Reprint years 2012, 2013
DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0138-3
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References found in this work BETA

Meaning and the Moral Sciences.Hilary Putnam - 1978 - Routledge and Kegan Paul.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
The Anti-Induction for Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (3):329-342.
The Problem of Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (4):425-436.
Best Theory Scientific Realism.Gerald Doppelt - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):271-291.
Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

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