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
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2012, 2013
DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0138-3
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,822
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Optimistic Realism Over Selectivism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):89-106.
What’s so Bad About Scientism?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Social Epistemology 31 (4):351-367.

View all 44 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Pessimistic Induction and Two Fallacies.Juha Saatsi - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1088-1098.
A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):75-84.
The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo.Michael A. Bishop - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Anti-Realism.Greg Frost-Arnold - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1131-1142.
Theory Change and Degrees of Success.Ludwig Fahrbach - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1283-1292.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-06-20

Total views
290 ( #20,615 of 2,265,171 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #24,146 of 2,265,171 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature