Miracles, pessimism and scientific realism

Authors
John Worrall
London School of Economics
Abstract
Worrall argued that structural realism provides a ‘synthesis’ of the main pro-realist argument – the ‘No Miracles Argument’, and the main anti-realist argument – the ‘Pessimistic Induction’. More recently, however, it has been claimed that each of these arguments is an instance of the same probabilistic fallacy – sometimes called the ‘base-rate fallacy’. If correct, this clearly seems to undermine structural realism and Magnus and Callender have indeed claimed that both arguments are fallacious and ‘without [them] we lose the rationale for … structural realism ’. I here argue that what have been shown to be fallacious are simply misguided formalisations of ‘the’ arguments and that when they are properly construed they continue to provide powerful motivation for favouring structural realism.
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