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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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  • Three Conceptions of Explaining How Possibly—and One Reductive Account.Johannes Persson - 2009 - In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. pp. 275--286.
    Philosophers of science have often favoured reductive approaches to how-possibly explanation. This article identifies three alternative conceptions making how-possibly explanation an interesting phenomenon in its own right. The first variety approaches “how possibly X?” by showing that X is not epistemically impossible. This can sometimes be achieved by removing misunderstandings concerning the implications of one’s current belief system but involves characteristically a modification of this belief system so that acceptance of X does not result in contradiction. The second variety offers (...)
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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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  • Scientific Realism.Anjann D. 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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  • 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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  • Decision-Based Epistemology: Sketching a Systematic Framework of Feyerabend’s Metaphilosophy.Daniel Kuby - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    In this paper I defend the claim that Paul Feyerabend held a robust metaphilosophical position for most of his philosophical career. This position I call Decision-Based Epistemology and reconstruct it in terms of three key components: a form of epistemic voluntarism concerning the justification of philosophical positions and a behaviorist account of philosophical beliefs, which allows him to cast normative arguments concerning philosophical beliefs in scientific methodology, such as realism, in terms of means-ends relations. I then introduce non-naturalist and naturalist (...)
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  • Truth and Scientific Change.Gila Sher - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):371-394.
    The paper seeks to answer two new questions about truth and scientific change: What lessons does the phenomenon of scientific change teach us about the nature of truth? What light do recent developments in the theory of truth, incorporating these lessons, throw on problems arising from the prevalence of scientific change, specifically, the problem of pessimistic meta-induction?
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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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  • Epistemic Selectivity, Historical Threats, and the Non-Epistemic Tenets of Scientific Realism.Timothy D. 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 in Particle Physics: A Causal Approach.Matthias Egg - 2014 - De Gruyter.
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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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  • Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
    (i) Scientific realism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine about the existence and nature of the unobservables of science. (ii) There are good explanationist arguments for realism, most famously that from the success of science, provided abduction is allowed. Abduction seems to be on an equal footing, at least, with other ampliative methods of inference. (iii) We have no reason to believe a doctrine of empirical equivalence that would sustain the underdetermination argument against realism. (iv) The key to defending realism from (...)
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  • Social Constructivism and the Aims of Science.Kareem Khalifa - 2010 - Social Epistemology 24 (1):45 – 61.
    In this essay, I provide normative guidelines for developing a philosophically interesting and plausible version of social constructivism as a philosophy of science, wherein science aims for social-epistemic values rather than for truth or empirical adequacy. This view is more plausible than the more radical constructivist claim that scientific facts are constructed. It is also more interesting than the modest constructivist claim that representations of such facts emerge in social contexts, as it provides a genuine rival to the scientific axiologies (...)
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  • The Descriptive and Normative Versions of Scientific Realism and Pessimism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Filozofia: Journal for Philosophy 74 (4):278–290.
    Descriptive realism holds that T is true, while normative realism holds that T is warranted. Descriptive pessimism holds that T is false, while normative pessimism holds that T is unwarranted. We should distinguish between descriptive and normative realism because some arguments against scientific realism require that scientific realism be interpreted as descriptive realism, and because scientific realists can retreat from descriptive to normative realism when descriptive realism is under attack. We should also distinguish between descriptive and normative pessimism because some (...)
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  • Critiques of Axiological Realism and Surrealism.Seungbae Park - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (1):61-74.
    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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  • 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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  • Understanding, Knowledge, and Scientific Antirealism.Kareem Khalifa - 2011 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 83 (1):93-112.
    Epistemologists have recently debated whether understanding is a species of knowledge. However, because they have offered little in the way of a detailed analysis of understanding, they lack the resources to resolve this issue. In this paper, I propose that S understands why p if and only if S has the non-Gettierised true belief that p, and for some proposition q, S has the non-Gettierised true belief that q is the best available explanation of p, S can correctly explain p (...)
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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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  • Pliability and Resistance: Feyerabendian Insights Into Sophisticated Realism.Luca Tambolo - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):197-213.
    In this paper we focus on two claims, put forward by Feyerabend in his later writings , which constitute the metaphysical core of his view of scientific inquiry. The first, that we call the pliability thesis, is the claim that the world can be described by indefinitely many conceptual systems, none of them enjoying a privileged status. The second, that we call the resistance thesis, is the claim that the pliability of the world is limited, i.e., not all the different (...)
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  • Idealization and the Aims of Economics: Three Cheers for Instrumentalism: Julian Reiss.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Economics and Philosophy 28 (3):363-383.
    This paper aims to provide characterizations of realism and instrumentalism that are philosophically interesting and applicable to economics; and to defend instrumentalism against realism as a methodological stance in economics. Starting point is the observation that ‘all models are false’, which, or so I argue, is difficult to square with the realist's aim of truth, even if the latter is understood as ‘partial’ or ‘approximate’. The three cheers in favour of instrumentalism are: Once we have usefulness, truth is redundant. There (...)
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  • Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - 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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