Beyond Numerical and Causal Accuracy: Expanding the Set of Justificational Criteria

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:485 - 499 (1990)
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I argue that numerical and causal accuracy arguments can be successful only if: (1) the theories in use are known to be true, (2) computational difficulties do not exist, and (3) the experimental data are stable and resolved. When any one or more of these assumptions are not satisfied, additional justificational considerations must be invoked. I illustrate the need for range of validity and intelligibility claims with examples drawn from chemical kinetics. My arguments suggest that the realist and anti-realist accounts of justification are incomplete. Finally, I sketch some reasons why additional justificatory criteria are needed.



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Jeffry L. Ramsey
Smith College

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Bibliography on philosophy of chemistry.E. R. Scerri - 1997 - Synthese 111 (3):305-324.

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