The No-Miracles Argument, reliabilism, and a methodological version of the generality problem

Synthese 177 (1):111 - 138 (2010)
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Abstract

The No-Miracles Argument (NMA) is often used to support scientific realism. We can formulate this argument as an inference to the best explanation this accusation of circularity by appealing to reliabilism, an externalist epistemology. In this paper I argue that this retreat fails. Reliabilism suffers from a potentially devastating difficulty known as the Generality Problem and attempts to solve this problem require adopting both epistemic and metaphysical assumptions regarding local scientific theories. Although the externalist can happily adopt the former, if he adopts the latter then the Generality Problem arises again, but now at the level of scientific methodology. Answering this new version of the Generality Problem is impossible for the scientific realist without making the important further assumption that there exists the possibility of a unique rule of Doing this however would make the NMA viciously premise circular

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Mark Newman
Arkansas State University

Citations of this work

Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (2):129-148.
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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References found in this work

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Epistemology and Cognition.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York: Humanities Press.

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