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  1. Two Arguments for Scientific Realism Unified.Harker David - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):192-202.
    Inferences from scientific success to the approximate truth of successful theories remain central to the most influential arguments for scientific realism. Challenges to such inferences, however, based on radical discontinuities within the history of science, have motivated a distinctive style of revision to the original argument. Conceding the historical claim, selective realists argue that accompanying even the most revolutionary change is the retention of significant parts of replaced theories, and that a realist attitude towards the systematically retained constituents of our (...)
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  • What Elements of Successful Scientific Theories Are the Correct Targets for “Selective” Scientific Realism?Dean Peters - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):377-397.
    Selective scientific realists disagree on which theoretical posits should be regarded as essential to the empirical success of a scientific theory. A satisfactory account of essentialness will show that the (approximate) truth of the selected posits adequately explains the success of the theory. Therefore, (a) the essential elements must be discernible prospectively; (b) there cannot be a priori criteria regarding which type of posit is essential; and (c) the overall success of a theory, or ‘cluster’ of propositions, not only individual (...)
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  • Explanation and Explanationism in Science and Metaphysics.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Matthew Slater & Zanja Yudell (eds.), Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines the status of inference to the best explanation in naturalistic metaphysics. The methodology of inference to the best explanation in metaphysics is studied from the perspective of contemporary views on scientific explanation and explanatory inferences in the history and philosophy of science. This reveals serious shortcomings in prevalent attempts to vindicate metaphysical "explanationism" by reference to similarities between science and naturalistic metaphysics. This critique is brought out by considering a common gambit of methodological unity: (1) Both metaphysics (...)
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  • Re-Enchanting Realism in Debate with Kyle Stanford.Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):201-224.
    In this article, against the background of a notion of ‘assembled’ truth, the evolutionary progressiveness of a theory is suggested as novel and promising explanation for the success of science. A new version of realism in science, referred to as ‘naturalised realism’ is outlined. Naturalised realism is ‘fallibilist’ in the unique sense that it captures and mimics the self-corrective core of scientific knowledge and its progress. It is argued that naturalised realism disarms Kyle Stanford’s anti-realist ‘new induction’ threats by showing (...)
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  • Interactive Realism.Emma Ruttkamp - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):41-52.
    I investigate a new understanding of realism in science, referred to as ‘interactive realism’, and I suggest the ‘evolutionary progressiveness’ of a theory as novel criterion for this kind of realism. My basic claim is that we cannot be realists about anything except the progress affected by myriad science-reality interactions that are constantly moving on a continuum of increased ‘fitness’ determined according to empirical constraints. Moreover to reflect this movement accurately, there is a corresponding continuum of verdicts about the status (...)
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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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  • Criteria for Attributing Predictive Responsibility in the Scientific Realism Debate: Deployment, Essentiality, Belief, Retention ….Timothy D. Lyons - 2009 - Human Affairs 19 (2).
    The most promising contemporary form of epistemic scientific realism is based on the following intuition: Belief should be directed, not toward theories as wholes, but toward particular theoretical constituents that are responsible for, or deployed in, key successes. While the debate on deployment realism is quite fresh, a significant degree of confusion has already entered into it. Here I identify five criteria that have sidetracked that debate. Setting these distractions aside, I endeavor to redirect the attention of both realists and (...)
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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.
    A general insight of 20th-century philosophy of science is that the acceptance of a scientific theory is grounded, not merely on a theory's relation to data, but on its status as having no, or being superior to its, competitors. I explore the ways in which scientific realists might be thought to utilise this insight, have in fact utilised it, and can legitimately utilise it. In more detail, I point out that, barring a natural but mistaken characterisation of scientific realism, traditional (...)
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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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  • Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science.Howard Sankey - 2008 - Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  • P. Kyle Stanford Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives.Patrick Enfield - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):881-895.
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  • How to Split a Theory: Defending Selective Realism and Convergence Without Proximity.D. Harker - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):79-106.
    The most influential arguments for scientific realism remain centrally concerned with an inference from scientific success to the approximate truth of successful theories. Recently, however, and in response to antirealists' objections from radical discontinuity within the history of science, the arguments have been refined. Rather than target entire theories, realists narrow their commitments to only certain parts of theories. Despite an initial plausibility, the selective realist strategy faces significant challenges. In this article, I outline four prerequisites for a successful selective (...)
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  • When Empirical Success Implies Theoretical Reference: A Structural Correspondence Theorem.Gerhard Schurz - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (1):101-133.
    Starting from a brief recapitulation of the contemporary debate on scientific realism, this paper argues for the following thesis : Assume a theory T has been empirically successful in a domain of application A, but was superseded later on by a superior theory T * , which was likewise successful in A but has an arbitrarily different theoretical superstructure. Then under natural conditions T contains certain theoretical expressions, which yielded T's empirical success, such that these T-expressions correspond (in A) to (...)
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  • What Science Fiction Can Demonstrate About Novelty in the Context of Discovery and Scientific Creativity.Clarissa Ai Ling Lee - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-21.
    Four instances of how science fiction contributes to the elucidation of novelty in the context of discovery are considered by extending existing discussions on temporal and use-novelty. In the first instance, science fiction takes an already well-known theory and produces its own re-interpretation; in the second instance, the scientific account is usually straightforward and whatever novelty that may occur would be more along the lines of how the science is deployed to extra-scientific matters; in the third instance, science fiction takes (...)
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  • Realism on the Rocks: Novel Success and James Hutton's Theory of the Earth.Thomas Rossetter - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 67:1-13.
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  • Using History as Evidence in Philosophy of Science: A Methodological Critique.James W. McAllister - 2018 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 12 (2):239-258.
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  • A Confrontation of Convergent Realism.Peter Vickers - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):189-211.
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  • Understanding the Selective Realist Defence Against the PMI.Peter Vickers - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3221-3232.
    One of the popular realist responses to the pessimistic meta-induction is the ‘selective’ move, where a realist only commits to the ‘working posits’ of a successful theory, and withholds commitment to ‘idle posits’. Antirealists often criticise selective realists for not being able to articulate exactly what is meant by ‘working’ and/or not being able to identify the working posits except in hindsight. This paper aims to establish two results: sometimes a proposition is, in an important sense, ‘doing work’, and yet (...)
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  • Against Selective Realism.Dana Tulodziecki - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):996-1007.
    It has recently been suggested that realist responses to historical cases featured in pessimistic meta-inductions are not as successful as previously thought. In response, selective realists have updated the basic divide et impera strategy specifically to take such cases into account and to argue that more modern realist accounts are immune to the historical challenge. Using a case study—that of the nineteenth-century zymotic theory of disease—I argue that these updated proposals fail and that even the most sophisticated recent realist accounts (...)
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  • Introduction: Scientific Explanation Beyond Causation.Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This is an introduction to the volume "Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations", edited by A. Reutlinger and J. Saatsi (OUP, forthcoming in 2017). -/- Explanations are very important to us in many contexts: in science, mathematics, philosophy, and also in everyday and juridical contexts. But what is an explanation? In the philosophical study of explanation, there is long-standing, influential tradition that links explanation intimately to causation: we often explain by providing accurate information about the causes of the (...)
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  • Global and Local Pessimistic Meta-Inductions.Samuel Ruhmkorff - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):409-428.
    The global pessimistic meta-induction argues from the falsity of scientific theories accepted in the past to the likely falsity of currently accepted scientific theories. I contend that this argument commits a statistical error previously unmentioned in the literature and is self-undermining. I then compare the global pessimistic meta-induction to a local pessimistic meta-induction based on recent negative assessments of the reliability of medical research. If there is any future in drawing pessimistic conclusions from the history of science, it lies in (...)
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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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  • The Argument From Underconsideration and Relative Realism.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):393-407.
    In this article, through a critical examination of K. Brad Wray's version of the argument from underconsideration against scientific realism, I articulate a modest version of scientific realism. This modest realist position, which I call ‘relative realism’, preserves the scientific realist's optimism about science's ability to get closer to the truth while, at the same time, taking on board the antirealist's premise that theory evaluation is comparative, and thus that there are no good reasons to think that science's best theories (...)
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  • Knowledge, Truth and Plausibility.Carlo Cellucci - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (4):517-532.
    From antiquity several philosophers have claimed that the goal of natural science is truth. In particular, this is a basic tenet of contemporary scientific realism. However, all concepts of truth that have been put forward are inadequate to modern science because they do not provide a criterion of truth. This means that we will generally be unable to recognize a scientific truth when we reach it. As an alternative, this paper argues that the goal of natural science is plausibility and (...)
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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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  • Psa 2012.-Preprint Volume- - unknown
    These preprints were automatically compiled into a PDF from the collection of papers deposited in PhilSci-Archive in conjunction with the PSA 2012.
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  • Structural Realism.James Ladyman - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Structural realism is considered by many realists and antirealists alike as the most defensible form of scientific realism. There are now many forms of structural realism and an extensive literature about them. There are interesting connections with debates in metaphysics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of mathematics. This entry is intended to be a comprehensive survey of the field.
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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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  • Axiological Scientific Realism and Methodological Prescription.Timothy D. Lyons - 2010 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 187--197.
    In this paper I distinguish between two kinds of meta-hypotheses, or hypotheses about science, at issue in the scientific realism debate. The first are descriptive empirical hypotheses regarding the nature of scientific inquiry. The second are epistemological theories about what individuals should / can justifiably believe about scientific theories. Favoring the realist Type-D meta-hypotheses, I argue that a particular set of realist and non-realist efforts in the debate over Type-E’s have been valuable in the quest to describe and understand the (...)
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  • How the Growth of Science Ends Theory Change.Ludwig Fahrbach - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):139-155.
    This paper outlines a defense of scientific realism against the pessimistic meta- induction which appeals to the phenomenon of the exponential growth of science. Here, scientific realism is defined as the view that our current successful scientific theories are mostly approximately true, and pessimistic meta- induction is the argument that projects the occurrence of past refutations of successful theories to the present concluding that many or most current successful scientific theories are false. The defense starts with the observation that at (...)
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  • Structural Realism Versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air.James Ladyman - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):87 - 101.
    The aim of this paper is to revisit the phlogiston theory to see what can be learned from it about the relationship between scientific realism, approximate truth and successful reference. It is argued that phlogiston theory did to some extent correctly describe the causal or nomological structure of the world, and that some of its central terms can be regarded as referring. However, it is concluded that the issue of whether or not theoretical terms successfully refer is not the key (...)
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  • How to Make Selective Realism More Selective.Massimiliano Badino - unknown
    Selective realism is the thesis that some wisely chosen theoretical posits are essential to science and can therefore be considered as true or approximately true. How to choose them wisely, however, is a matter of fierce contention. Generally speaking, we should favor posits that are effectively deployed in successful prediction. In this paper I propose a refinement of the notion of deployment and I argue that selective realism can be extended to include the analysis of how theoretical posits are actually (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Scientific Realism and the Divide Et Impera Strategy: The Ether Saga Revisited.Alberto Cordero - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1120-1130.
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  • Scientific Realism: Quo Vadis? Introduction: New Thinking About Scientific Realism.Stathis Psillos & Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3187-3201.
    This Introduction has two foci: the first is a discussion of the motivation for and the aims of the 2014 conference on New Thinking about Scientific Realism in Cape Town South Africa, and the second is a brief contextualization of the contributed articles in this special issue of Synthese in the framework of the conference. Each focus is discussed in a separate section.
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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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  • Methodological Realism and Modal Resourcefulness: Out of the Web and Into the Mine.Lydia Patton - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3443-3462.
    Psillos, Kitcher, and Leplin have defended convergent scientific realism against the pessimistic meta-induction by arguing for the divide et impera strategy. I argue that DEI faces a problem more serious than the pessimistic meta-induction: the problem of accretion. When empirically successful theories and principles are combined, they may no longer make successful predictions or allow for accurate calculations, or the combination otherwise may be an empirical failure. The shift from classical mechanics to the new quantum theory does not reflect the (...)
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  • A Trilemma for Best Theory Realism.José Díez - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):271-291.
    The no-miracles argument is the main inference-to-the-best-explanation kind of argument for scientific realism, and the pessimistic induction is considered a main, if not the main, challenge for a NMA-based scientific realism. Doppelt advocates a new kind of inference-to-the-best-explanation supported scientific realism that he labels Best Theory Realism. If successful in replacing standard selective realism as the best version of scientific realism, BTR would be particularly good since it is not committed to the partial truth of past theories and thereby it (...)
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  • Defending the Selective Confirmation Strategy.Yukinori Onishi - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:1-10.
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  • Did Ptolemy Make Novel Predictions? Launching Ptolemaic Astronomy Into the Scientific Realism Debate.Christián Carman & José Díez - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:20-34.
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  • Kuhn, Relativism and Realism.Howard Sankey - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 72-83.
    The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between Kuhn’s views about science and scientific realism. I present an overview of key features of Kuhn’s model of scientific change. The model suggests a relativistic approach to the methods of science. I bring out a conflict between this relativistic approach and a realist approach to the norms of method. I next consider the question of progress and truth. Kuhn’s model is a problem-solving model that proceeds by way of puzzles (...)
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  • Pursuing and Accepting Hypotheses: A Peircean View of IBE.Rune Nyrup - unknown
    It is often observed that explanatory reasoning, especially the so-called inference to best explanation, plays a crucial role in theory choice in scientific practice. This paper defends an alternative account of the justificatory role of explanatory reasoning in general, and IBE in particular, inspired by C.S. Peirce's account of abduction. Most contemporary proponents of IBE take it to provide justification for accepting hypotheses as true. In contrast to this, the Peircean view defended here takes explanatory reasoning to first and foremost (...)
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  • Rejected Posits, Realism, and the History of Science.Alberto Cordero - 2009 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 23--32.
    Summary: Responding to Laudan’s skeptical reading of history an influential group of realists claim that the seriously wrong claims past successful theories licensed were not really implicated in the predictions that once singled them out as successful. For example, in the case of Fresnel’s theory of light, it is said that although he appealed to the ether he didn’t actually need to in order to derive his famous experimental predictions—in them, we are assured, the ether concept was “idle,” “inessential,” “peripheral” (...)
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  • Theoretical Virtues in Science : Uncovering Reality Through Theory.Samuel Schindler - 2018 - Cambridge University Press.
    What are the features of a good scientific theory? Samuel Schindler's book revisits this classical question in the philosophy of science and develops new answers to it. Theoretical virtues matter not only for choosing theories 'to work with', but also for what we are justified in believing: only if the theories we possess are good ones can we be confident that our theories' claims about nature are actually correct. Recent debates have focussed rather narrowly on a theory's capacity to predict (...)
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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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  • Rethinking Knowledge.Carlo Cellucci - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (2):213-234.
    The view that the subject matter of epistemology is the concept of knowledge is faced with the problem that all attempts so far to define that concept are subject to counterexamples. As an alternative, this article argues that the subject matter of epistemology is knowledge itself rather than the concept of knowledge. Moreover, knowledge is not merely a state of mind but rather a certain kind of response to the environment that is essential for survival. In this perspective, the article (...)
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