Synthese 190 (9):1471-1488 (2013)

Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London
I present a new definition of verisimilitude, framed in terms of causes. Roughly speaking, according to it a scientific model is approximately true if it captures accurately the strengths of the causes present in any given situation. Against much of the literature, I argue that any satisfactory account of verisimilitude must inevitably restrict its judgments to context-specific models rather than general theories. We may still endorse—and only need—a relativized notion of scientific progress, understood now not as global advance but rather as the mastering of particular problems. This also sheds new light on longstanding difficulties surrounding language-dependence and models committed to false ontologies.
Keywords Verisimilitude  Approximate truth  Causal strength  Causation  Scientific progress  Language dependence  Scientific realism
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-9895-7
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
It’s Just A Feeling: Why Economic Models Do Not Explain.Anna Alexandrova & Robert Northcott - 2013 - Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (3):262 - 267.
What is Theoretical Progress of Science?Juha Saatsi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):611-631.

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