Darwin's Pangenesis and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives


Abstract
In earlier work I have argued that the most substantial threat to scientific realism arises from the problem of unconceived alternatives: the repeated failure of past scientists and scientific communities to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when such alternatives were both (1) well confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. In this paper I explore Charles Darwin's development and defense of his 'pangenesis' theory of inheritance and conclude that this particular historical example offers impressive support for the challenge posed to realism by this problem of unconceived alternatives
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axi158
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References found in this work BETA

Exceeding Our Grasp.Kyle Stanford - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):135-139.
Darwin on Variation and Heredity.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
Refusing the Devil's Bargain: What Kind of Underdetermination Should We Take Seriously?P. Kyle Stanford - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S1-.

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Non‐Competitor Conditions in the Scientific Realism Debate.Timothy D. Lyons - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):65-84.

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