Synthese 198 (5):4295-4313 (2021)

Authors
Tamer Nawar
University of Groningen
Abstract
Elgin offers an influential and far-reaching challenge to veritism. She takes scientific understanding to be non-factive and maintains that there are epistemically useful falsehoods that figure ineliminably in scientific understanding and whose falsehood is no epistemic defect. Veritism, she argues, cannot account for these facts. This paper argues that while Elgin rightly draws attention to several features of epistemic practices frequently neglected by veritists, veritists have numerous plausible ways of responding to her arguments. In particular, it is not clear that false propositional commitments figure ineliminably in understanding in the manner supposed by Elgin. Moreover, even if scientific understanding were non-factive and false propositional commitments did figure ineliminably in understanding, the veritist can account for this in several ways without thereby abandoning veritism.
Keywords Scientific Understanding  Veritism  Truth  Idealizations  Ideal Gas Law  Epistemic Value  Factivity  Truth
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02342-2
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How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Accuracy and the Laws of Credence.Richard Pettigrew - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

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