Beyond Structural Realism: pluralist criteria for theory evaluation

Synthese 174 (3):413-443 (2010)
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that singularist approaches to solving the Pessimistic Induction, such as Structural Realism, are unacceptable, but that when a pluralist account of methodological principles is adopted this anti-realist argument can be dissolved. The proposed view is a contextual methodological pluralism in the tradition of Normative Naturalism, and is justified by appeal to meta-methodological principles that are themselves justified via an externalist epistemology. Not only does this view provide an answer to the Pessimistic Induction, it can also accommodate our strongest intuitions regarding the progress of science.

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Mark Newman
Arkansas State University