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Realism and the absence of rivals

Synthese 194 (7):2427-2446 (2017)

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  1. Scientific Realism: What It is, the Contemporary Debate, and New Directions.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):451-484.
    First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
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  • The Coincidentalist Reply to the No-Miracles Argument.Kenneth Boyce - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):929-946.
    Proponents of the no-miracles argument contend that scientific realism is “the only philosophy that doesn’t make the success of science a miracle.” Bas van Fraassen argued, however, that the success of our best theories can be explained in Darwinian terms—by the fact they are survivors of a winnowing process in which unsuccessful theories are rejected. Critics of this selectionist explanation complain that while it may account for the fact we have chosen successful theories, it does not explain why any particular (...)
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  • Presume It Not: True Causes in the Search for the Basis of Heredity.Aaron Novick & Raphael Scholl - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axy001.
    Kyle Stanford has recently given substance to the problem of unconceived alternatives, which challenges the reliability of inference to the best explanation (IBE) in remote domains of nature. Conjoined with the view that IBE is the central inferential tool at our disposal in investigating these domains, the problem of unconceived alternatives leads to scientific anti-realism. We argue that, at least within the biological community, scientists are now and have long been aware of the dangers of IBE. We re-analyze the nineteenth-century (...)
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  • The Two Visual Systems Hypothesis and Contrastive Underdetermination.Thor Grünbaum - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 17):4045-4068.
    This paper concerns local yet systematic problems of contrastive underdetermination of model choice in cognitive neuroscience debates about the so-called two visual systems hypothesis. The underdetermination problem is systematically generated by the way certain assumptions about the representationalist nature of computation are translated into experimental practice. The problem is that behavioural data underdetermine the choice between competing representational models. In this paper, I diagnose how these assumptions generate underdetermination problems in the choice between competing functional models of perception–action. Using the (...)
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  • The Heuristic Conception of Inference to the Best Explanation.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1745-1766.
    An influential suggestion about the relationship between Bayesianism and inference to the best explanation holds that IBE functions as a heuristic to approximate Bayesian reasoning. While this view promises to unify Bayesianism and IBE in a very attractive manner, important elements of the view have not yet been spelled out in detail. I present and argue for a heuristic conception of IBE on which IBE serves primarily to locate the most probable available explanatory hypothesis to serve as a working hypothesis (...)
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  • Gildi vísinda og gildin í vísindum - á tímum heimsfaraldurs [English title: "The Value of Science and the Values in Science - in Pandemic Times"].Finnur Dellsén - 2020 - Skírnir 194:251-273.
    English summary: This paper uses research on the COVID-19 pandemic as the backdrop for an accessible discussion of the value and status of science, and of the role of valuesin science. In particular, the paper seeks to debunk three common myths or dogmas about scientific research: (i) that there is such a thing as 'scientific proof' of a theory or hypothesis, (ii) that disagreement is necessarily unhealthy or unnatural in science, (iii) and that personal values play no role in scientific (...)
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  • Frá skoðunum til trúnaðar og aftur til baka: Yfirlit um bayesíska þekkingarfræði [English title: "From Belief to Credence and Back Again: An Overview of Bayesian Epistemology"].Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Hugur 28:146-162.
    English abstract: This paper discusses the delicate relationship between traditional epistemology and the increasingly influential probabilistic (or ‘Bayesian’) approach to epistemology. The paper introduces some of the key ideas of probabilistic epistemology, including credences or degrees of belief, Bayes’ theorem, conditionalization, and the Dutch Book argument. The tension between traditional and probabilistic epistemology is brought out by considering the lottery and preface paradoxes as they relate to rational (binary) belief and credence respectively. It is then argued that this tension can (...)
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  • Externalismo semántico y subdeterminación empírica. Respuesta a un desafío al realismo científico.Marc Jiménez Rolland - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
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  • Should Scientific Realists Embrace Theoretical Conservatism?Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A:30-38.
    A prominent type of scientific realism holds that some important parts of our best current scientific theories are at least approximately true. According to such realists, radically distinct alternatives to these theories or theory-parts are unlikely to be approximately true. Thus one might be tempted to argue, as the prominent anti-realist Kyle Stanford recently did, that realists of this kind have little or no reason to encourage scientists to attempt to identify and develop theoretical alternatives that are radically distinct from (...)
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  • Quatro Teses de Subdeterminação de Teorias Pelas Observações: Significados, Plausibilidades E Implicações.Guilherme Gräf Schüler & Rogério P. Severo - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (2).
    Este artigo mostra que não há uma tese de subdeterminação de teorias científicas pelos indícios observacionais, mas várias. Identificamos quatro, com significados, plausibilidades e implicações distintos. Mostra-se que as mais fortes não passam de conjeturas, e que as mais fracas são mais plausíveis, mas não possuem implicações filosóficas robustas – em particular, não implicam o antirrealismo científico –, embora forneçam indícios de alternativas teóricas sistematicamente ignoradas na ciência, bem como do emprego de critérios em parte valorativos de escolha de teorias.
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  • Reactionary Responses to the Bad Lot Objection.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:32-40.
    As it is standardly conceived, Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) is a form of ampliative inference in which one infers a hypothesis because it provides a better potential explanation of one’s evidence than any other available, competing explanatory hypothesis. Bas van Fraassen famously objected to IBE thus formulated that we may have no reason to think that any of the available, competing explanatory hypotheses are true. While revisionary responses to the Bad Lot Objection concede that IBE needs to be (...)
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