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  1. In Defense of Realism and Selectivism From Lyons’s Objections.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Foundations of Science 1.
    Lyons (2016, 2017, 2018) formulates Laudan’s (1981) historical objection to scientific realism as a modus tollens. I present a better formulation of Laudan’s objection, and then argue that Lyons’s formulation is supererogatory. Lyons rejects scientific realism (Putnam, 1975) on the grounds that some successful past theories were (completely) false. I reply that scientific realism is not the categorical hypothesis that all successful scientific theories are (approximately) true, but rather the statistical hypothesis that most successful scientific theories are (approximately) true. Lyons (...)
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  • New Objections to the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (2):138-145.
    The problem of unconceived alternatives can be undermined, regardless of whether the possibility space of alternatives is bounded or unbounded. If it is bounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not yet eliminated enough false alternatives is higher than the probability that scientists have already eliminated enough false alternatives. If it is unbounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not yet moved from the possibility space of false alternatives (...)
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  • How to Formulate Scientific Realism and Antirealism.Seungbae Park - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-12.
    The wider the gap between rivaling positions, the more there can be debates between rivaling interlocutors. The gap between the respective formulations of scientific realism and antirealism that invoke the Prussian conception of rationality is wider than the gap between the respective formulations of scientific realism and antirealism that invoke the English conception of rationality. Therefore, scientific realists and antirealists should choose the former over the latter as the framework of their debate.
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  • Critiques of Axiological Realism and Surrealism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Acta Analytica:1-14.
    Lyons’s (2003, 2018) axiological realism holds that science pursues true theories. I object that despite its name, it is a variant of scientific antirealism, and is susceptible to all the problems with scientific antirealism. Lyons (2003, 2018) also advances a variant of surrealism as an alternative to the realist explanation for success. I object that it does not give rise to understanding because it is an ad hoc explanans and because it gives a conditional explanation. Lyons might use axiological realism (...)
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  • Science as Radical Knowledge.Gonzalo Munévar - 2018 - Límite 13 (41).
    ABSTRACT The view that science is typically a cumulative, progressive process, as suggested by some historians of science and some scientific realists, is undermined both by history and by evolutionary considerations about the nature of science. The attempts to use evolutionary biology to portray scientific development as continuous are based on unfortunate analogies to the evolu tion of life. A proper application of evolutionary biology, in combination with neuroscience, defeats the case for the realism in question and leads to the (...)
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  • Why Should We Be Pessimistic About Antirealists and Pessimists?Seungbae Park - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (3):613-625.
    The pessimistic induction over scientific theories holds that present theories will be overthrown as were past theories. The pessimistic induction over scientists holds that present scientists cannot conceive of future theories just as past scientists could not conceive of present theories. The pessimistic induction over realists :4321–4330, 2013) holds that present realists are wrong about present theories just as past realists were wrong about past theories. The pessimistic induction over antirealist theories :3–21, 2014) holds that the latest antirealist explanation of (...)
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  • The Problem of Deep Competitors and the Pursuit of Epistemically Utopian Truths.Timothy D. Lyons - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):317-338.
    According to standard scientific realism, science seeks truth and we can justifiably believe that our successful theories achieve, or at least approximate, that goal. In this paper, I discuss the implications of the following competitor thesis: Any theory we may favor has competitors such that we cannot justifiably deny that they are approximately true. After defending that thesis, I articulate three specific threats it poses for standard scientific realism; one is epistemic, the other two are axiological (that is, pertaining to (...)
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  • Structural Realism Versus Deployment Realism: A Comparative Evaluation.Timothy D. Lyons - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:95-105.
    In this paper I challenge and adjudicate between the two positions that have come to prominence in the scientific realism debate: deployment realism and structural realism. I discuss a set of cases from the history of celestial mechanics, including some of the most important successes in the history of science. To the surprise of the deployment realist, these are novel predictive successes toward which theoretical constituents that are now seen to be patently false were genuinely deployed. Exploring the implications for (...)
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  • Toward a Purely Axiological Scientific Realism.Timothy D. Lyons - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (2):167-204.
    The axiological tenet of scientific realism, “science seeks true theories,” is generally taken to rest on a corollary epistemological tenet, “we can justifiably believe that our successful theories achieve (or approximate) that aim.” While important debates have centered on, and have led to the refinement of, the epistemological tenet, the axiological tenet has suffered from neglect. I offer what I consider to be needed refinements to the axiological postulate. After showing an intimate relation between the refined postulate and ten theoretical (...)
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  • Scientific Realism and the Stratagema de Divide Et Impera.Timothy D. Lyons - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):537-560.
    In response to historical challenges, advocates of a sophisticated variant of scientific realism emphasize that theoretical systems can be divided into numerous constituents. Setting aside any epistemic commitment to the systems themselves, they maintain that we can justifiably believe those specific constituents that are deployed in key successful predictions. Stathis Psillos articulates an explicit criterion for discerning exactly which theoretical constituents qualify. I critique Psillos's criterion in detail. I then test the more general deployment realist intuition against a set of (...)
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  • Scientific Realism.Timothy D. Lyons - 2016 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 564-584.
    This article endeavors to identify the strongest versions of the two primary arguments against epistemic scientific realism: the historical argument—generally dubbed “the pessimistic meta-induction”—and the argument from underdetermination. It is shown that, contrary to the literature, both can be understood as historically informed but logically validmodus tollensarguments. After specifying the question relevant to underdetermination and showing why empirical equivalence is unnecessary, two types of competitors to contemporary scientific theories are identified, both of which are informed by science itself. With the (...)
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  • Epistemic Selectivity, Historical Threats, and the Non-Epistemic Tenets of Scientific Realism.Timothy Lyons - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3203-3219.
    The scientific realism debate has now reached an entirely new level of sophistication. Faced with increasingly focused challenges, epistemic scientific realists have appropriately revised their basic meta-hypothesis that successful scientific theories are approximately true: they have emphasized criteria that render realism far more selective and, so, plausible. As a framework for discussion, I use what I take to be the most influential current variant of selective epistemic realism, deployment realism. Toward the identification of new case studies that challenge this form (...)
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  • Critiques of Minimal Realism.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Problemos 92:102-114.
    Saatsi’s minimal realism holds that science makes theoretical progress. It is designed to get around the pessimistic induction, to fall between scientific realism and instrumentalism, and to explain the success of scientific theories. I raise the following two objections to it. First, it is not clear whether minimal realism lies between realism and instrumentalism, given that minimal realism does not entail instrumentalism. Second, it is not clear whether minimal realism can explain the success of scientific theories, given that it is (...)
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  • The Problem of Unobserved Anomalies.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Filosofija. Sociologija 29 (1):4-12.
    Scientific antirealism, the view that successful theories are empirically adequate, is untenable in light of the problem of unobserved anomalies that since past scientists could not observe the anomalies that caused the replacement of past theories with present theories, present scientists also cannot observe the anomalies that will cause the replacement of present theories with future theories. There are several moves that antirealists would be tempted to make to get around the problem of unobserved anomalies. All of them, however, are (...)
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  • Singularist Semirealism.Bence Nanay - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):371-394.
    This paper proposes to carve out a new position in the scientific realism/antirealism debate and argue that it captures some of the most important realist and some of the most important antirealist considerations. The view, briefly stated, is that there is always a fact of the matter about whether the singular statements science gives us are literally true, but there is no fact of the matter about whether the non-singular statements science gives us are literally true. I call this view (...)
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  • How to Overcome Antirealists’ Objections to Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Axiomathes:1-12.
    Van Fraassen contends that there is no argument that rationally compels us to disbelieve a successful theory, T. I object that this contention places upon him the burden of showing that scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments, such as the pessimistic induction, do not rationally compel us to disbelieve T. Van Fraassen uses the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve T. I argue that realists can use it to rationally believe T, despite scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments against T.
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  • Self-Fulfillment of Social Science Theories Cooling the Fire.Carsten Bergenholtz & Jacob Busch - 2016 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (1):24-43.
    Self-fulfillment of theories is argued to be a threat to social science in at least two ways. First, a realist might worry that self-fulfillment constitutes a threat to the idea that social science is a proper science consistent with a realist approach that develops true and successful statements about the world. Second, one might argue that the potential self-fulfilling nature of social science theories potentially undermines the ethical integrity of social scientists. We argue that if one accepts that social science (...)
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  • Realism Versus Surrealism.Seungbae Park - 2016 - Foundations of Science 21 (4):603-614.
    Realism and surrealism claim, respectively, that a scientific theory is successful because it is true, and because the world operates as if it is true. Lyons :891–901, 2003) criticizes realism and argues that surrealism is superior to realism. I reply that Lyons’s criticisms against realism fail. I also attempt to establish the following two claims: Realism and surrealism lead to a useful prescription and a useless prescription, respectively, on how to make an unsuccessful theory successful. Realism and surrealism give the (...)
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  • The Anti-Induction for Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (3):329-342.
    In contemporary philosophy of science, the no-miracles argument and the pessimistic induction are regarded as the strongest arguments for and against scientific realism, respectively. In this paper, I construct a new argument for scientific realism which I call the anti-induction for scientific realism. It holds that, since past theories were false, present theories are true. I provide an example from the history of science to show that anti-inductions sometimes work in science. The anti-induction for scientific realism has several advantages over (...)
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  • The Grand Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Review of Contemporary Philosophy 17:7-19.
    After decades of intense debate over the old pessimistic induction (Laudan, 1977; Putnam, 1978), it has now become clear that it has at least the following four problems. First, it overlooks the fact that present theories are more successful than past theories. Second, it commits the fallacy of biased statistics. Third, it erroneously groups together past theories from different fields of science. Four, it misses the fact that some theoretical components of past theories were preserved. I argue that these four (...)
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  • The Unificatory Power of Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (44):59–73.
    The no-miracles argument (Putnam, 1975) holds that science is successful because successful theories are (approximately) true. Frost-Arnold (2010) objects that this argument is unacceptable because it generates neither new predictions nor unifications. It is similar to the unacceptable explanation that opium puts people to sleep because it has a dormative virtue. I reply that on close examination, realism explains not only why some theories are successful but also why successful theories exist in current science. Therefore, it unifies the disparate phenomena.
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  • Scientific Antirealists Have Set Fire to Their Own Houses.Seungbae Park - 2017 - Prolegomena 16 (1):23-37.
    Scientific antirealists run the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism. I argue that the argument from underconsideration backfires on antirealists’ positive philosophical theories, such as the contextual theory of explanation (van Fraassen, 1980), the English model of rationality (van Fraassen, 1989), the evolutionary explanation of the success of science (Wray, 2008; 2012), and explanatory idealism (Khalifa, 2013). Antirealists strengthen the argument from underconsideration with the pessimistic induction against current scientific theories. In response, I construct a pessimistic induction against antirealists that (...)
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  • Explanatory Failures of Relative Realism.Seungbae Park - 2015 - Epistemologia 38 (1):16-28.
    Scientific realism (Putnam 1975; Psillos 1999) and relative realism (Mizrahi 2013) claim that successful scientific theories are approximately true and comparatively true, respectively. A theory is approximately true if and only if it is close to the truth. A theory is comparatively true if and only if it is closer to the truth than its competitors are. I argue that relative realism is more skeptical about the claims of science than it initially appears to be and that it can explain (...)
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  • Rejecting Mathematical Realism While Accepting Interactive Realism.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Analysis and Metaphysics 17:7-21.
    Indispensablists contend that accepting scientific realism while rejecting mathematical realism involves a double standard. I refute this contention by developing an enhanced version of scientific realism, which I call interactive realism. It holds that interactively successful theories are typically approximately true, and that the interactive unobservable entities posited by them are likely to exist. It is immune to the pessimistic induction while mathematical realism is susceptible to it.
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  • A Pessimistic Induction Against Scientific Antirealism.Seungbae Park - 2014 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 21 (1):3-21.
    There are nine antirealist explanations of the success of science in the literature. I raise difficulties against all of them except the latest one, and then construct a pessimistic induction that the latest one will turn out to be problematic because its eight forerunners turned out to be problematic. This pessimistic induction is on a par with the traditional pessimistic induction that successful present scientific theories will be revealed to be false because successful past scientific theories were revealed to be (...)
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  • A Pragmatic, Existentialist Approach to the Scientific Realism Debate.Curtis Forbes - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3327-3346.
    It has become apparent that the debate between scientific realists and constructive empiricists has come to a stalemate. Neither view can reasonably claim to be the most rational philosophy of science, exclusively capable of making sense of all scientific activities. On one prominent analysis of the situation, whether we accept a realist or an anti-realist account of science actually seems to depend on which values we antecedently accept, rather than our commitment to “rationality” per se. Accordingly, several philosophers have attempted (...)
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  • A Historically Informed Modus Ponens Against Scientific Realism: Articulation, Critique, and Restoration.Timothy D. Lyons - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):369-392.
    There are two primary arguments against scientific realism, one pertaining to underdetermination, the other to the history of science. While these arguments are usually treated as altogether distinct, P. Kyle Stanford's ‘problem of unconceived alternatives’ constitutes one kind of synthesis: I propose that Stanford's argument is best understood as a broad modus ponens underdetermination argument, into which he has inserted a unique variant of the historical pessimistic induction. After articulating three criticisms against Stanford's argument and the evidence that he offers, (...)
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  • Reconsidering the Miracle Argument on the Supposition of Transient Underdetermination.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):173 - 187.
    In this paper, I will show that the Miracle Argument is unsound if one assumes a certain form of transient underdetermination. For this aim, I will first discuss and formalize several variants of underdetermination, especially that of transient underdetermination, by means of measure theory. I will then formalize a popular and persuasive form of the Miracle Argument that is based on "use novelty". I will then proceed to the proof that the miracle argument is unsound by means of a mathematical (...)
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  • Editorial.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Editorial 9 (44):1-4.
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  • Four Challenges to Epistemic Scientific Realism—and the Socratic Alternative.Timothy D. Lyons - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):146-150.
    Four Challenges to Epistemic Scientific Realism—and the Socratic Alternative.
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  • The No Miracles Argument Without Scientific Realism.Richard Dawid - unknown
    According to the no miracles argument, scientific realism provides the only satisfactory explanation of the predictive success of science. It is argued in the present article that a different explanatory strategy, based on the posit of strong limitations to the underdetermination of scientific theory building by the available empirical data, offers a more convincing understanding of scientific success.
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  • Why the Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism Ultimately Fails.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):132-138.
    In this paper, I argue that the ultimate argument for Scientific Realism, also known as the No-Miracles Argument (NMA), ultimately fails as an abductive defence of Epistemic Scientific Realism (ESR), where (ESR) is the thesis that successful theories of mature sciences are approximately true. The NMA is supposed to be an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) that purports to explain the success of science. However, the explanation offered as the best explanation for success, namely (ESR), fails to yield independently (...)
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  • Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Debates about scientific realism are closely connected to almost everything else in the philosophy of science, for they concern the very nature of scientific knowledge. Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude toward the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences. This epistemic attitude has important metaphysical and semantic dimensions, and these various commitments are contested by a number of rival epistemologies of science, known collectively (...)
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  • Systematicity Theory Meets Socratic Scientific Realism: The Systematic Quest for Truth.Timothy D. Lyons - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):833-861.
    Systematicity theory—developed and articulated by Paul Hoyningen-Huene—and scientific realism constitute separate encompassing and empirical accounts of the nature of science. Standard scientific realism asserts the axiological thesis that science seeks truth and the epistemological thesis that we can justifiably believe our successful theories at least approximate that aim. By contrast, questions pertaining to truth are left “outside” systematicity theory’s “intended scope” ; the scientific realism debate is “simply not” its “focus”. However, given the continued centrality of that debate in the (...)
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  • Entity Realism and Singularist Semirealism.Bence Nanay - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):499-517.
    Entity realism is the view that ‘a good many theoretical entities do really exist’. The main novelty of entity realism was that it provided an account of scientific realism that did not have to endorse realism about theories—the general proposal was that entity realism is noncommittal about whether we should be realist about scientific theories. I argue that the only way entity realists can resist the pull of straight scientific realism about theories is by endorsing a recent new player in (...)
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  • Naturalism and the Success of Science.Peter Harrison - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-18.
    Methodological naturalism is usually regarded as compatible with a range of religious commitments on the part of scientific practitioners and it is typically assumed that methodological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. Against this, it has been argued that the cumulative success of the sciences, conducted in conformity with the principle of methodological naturalism, actually provides compelling evidence for the truth of metaphysical naturalism. In this article I assess the argument for naturalism from the history of science and suggest that (...)
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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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  • Optimistic Realism About Scientific Progress.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2015 - Synthese 194 (9):3291-3309.
    Scientific realists use the “no miracle argument” to show that the empirical and pragmatic success of science is an indicator of the ability of scientific theories to give true or truthlike representations of unobservable reality. While antirealists define scientific progress in terms of empirical success or practical problem-solving, realists characterize progress by using some truth-related criteria. This paper defends the definition of scientific progress as increasing truthlikeness or verisimilitude. Antirealists have tried to rebut realism with the “pessimistic metainduction”, but critical (...)
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  • Levin and Ghins on the “No Miracle” Argument and Naturalism.Mario Alai - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):85-110.
    On the basis of Levin’s claim that truth is not a scientific explanatory factor, Michel Ghins argues that the “no miracle” argument (NMA) is not scientific, therefore scientific realism is not a scientific hypothesis, and naturalism is wrong. I argue that there are genuine senses of ‘scientific’ and ‘explanation’ in which truth can yield scientific explanations. Hence, the NMA can be considered scientific in the sense that it hinges on a scientific explanation, it follows a typically scientific inferential pattern (IBE), (...)
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  • What If Reality has No Architecture?Bence Nanay - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):181-197.
    The aim of this paper is to show that we can deny that reality is neatly segmented into natural kinds and still give a plausible view about what science is supposed to do – and the way science in fact works does not rely on the dubious metaphysical assumption that reality is segmented into natural kinds. The score is simple: either there are natural kinds or there aren’t. The former view has been the default position in mainstream analytic metaphysics and (...)
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  • Reliabilism and the Abductive Defence of Scientific Realism.Valeriano Iranzo - 2008 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39 (1):115-120.
    According to the “no-miracles argument” (NMA), truth is the best explanation of the predictive-instrumental success of scientific theories. A standard objection against NMA is that it is viciously circular. In Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth Stathis Psillos has claimed that the circularity objection can be met when NMA is supplemented with a reliabilist approach to justification. I will try to show, however, that scientific realists cannot take much comfort from this policy: if reliabilism makes no qualifications about the domain (...)
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  • Scientific Prediction and the Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Building.Richard Dawid - unknown
    According to the no miracles argument, scientific realism provides the only satisfactory explanation of the predictive success of science. It is argued in the present article that a different explanatory strategy, based on the posit of limitations to the underdetermination of scientific theory building by the available empirical data, offers a more convincing understanding of scientific success.
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  • Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Marcel Weber - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    Philosophy of Experimental Biology explores some central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in experimental biology, including genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, and microbiology. It seeks to make sense of the explanatory strategies, concepts, ways of reasoning, approaches to discovery and problem solving, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by scientific life science researchers and also integrates developments in historical scholarship, in particular the New Experimentalism. It concludes that historical explanations of scientific change that are based on local laboratory (...)
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  • Inductivist Strategies for Scientific Realism.Valeriano Iranzo - 2012 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 101 (1):241-268.
    Philip Kitcher has developed a sort of inductivist-reliabilist justification for scientific realism. After distinguishing his argument from a well-known abductivist one (the "no-miracles" argument), I will argue that Kitcher's proposal cannot adequately meet the antirealist challenge. Firstly, it begs the question against the antirealists; secondly, it can hardly support a plausible - piecemeal - scientific realism. I will explore an alternative inductivist approach that exploits correlations between theoretical properties and empirical success. On my view, its prospects for avoiding the aforementioned (...)
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  • The Fertility of Theories.Robert Segall - unknown
    In addition to empirical adequacy and compatibility with other current theories, scientific theories are commonly judged on three criteria â simplicity, elegance, and fertility. Fertility has received comparatively little attention in the philosophical literature. A definition of a certain sort of fertility, called P-fertility, proposed by Ernan McMullin, is that it consists in the capacity of a theory to be successfully modified over time to explain new experimental data or theoretical insights. McMullin made the major claim that he has a (...)
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  • Defending Deployment Realism Against Alleged Counterexamples.Mario Alai - 2014 - In Javier Cumpa, Greg Jesson & Guido Bonino (eds.), Defending Realism: Ontological and Epistemological Investigations. De Gruyter. pp. 265-290.
    Criticisms à la Laudan can block the “no miracles” argument for the (approximate) truth of whole theories. Realists have thus retrenched, arguing that at least the individual claims deployed in the derivation of novel predictions should be considered (approximately) true. But for Lyons (2002) there are historical counterexamples even to this weaker “deployment” realism: he lists a number of novel predictions supposedly derived from (radically) false claims. But if so, those successes would seem unexplainable, even by Lyons’ “modest surrealism” or (...)
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