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  1. 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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  • Optimistic Realism About Scientific Progress.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2017 - 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Show Me the Argument: Empirically Testing the Armchair Philosophy Picture.Zoe Ashton & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (1-2):58-70.
    Many philosophers subscribe to the view that philosophy is a priori and in the business of discovering necessary truths from the armchair. This paper sets out to empirically test this picture. If this were the case, we would expect to see this reflected in philosophical practice. In particular, we would expect philosophers to advance mostly deductive, rather than inductive, arguments. The paper shows that the percentage of philosophy articles advancing deductive arguments is higher than those advancing inductive arguments, which is (...)
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  • How Theoretical Physics Makes Progress: Nicholas Maxwell: Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2017, 232 Pp, $24.95PB. [REVIEW]Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):203-207.
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  • The Problem of Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (4):425-436.
    In this paper, I argue that, just as the problem of unconceived alternatives provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Science to the effect that a realist view of science is unwarranted, the problem of unconceived objections provides a basis for a New Induction on the History of Philosophy to the effect that a realist view of philosophy is unwarranted. I raise this problem not only for skepticism’s sake but also for the sake of making a (...)
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  • Approximate Truth Vs. Empirical Adequacy.Seungbae Park - 2014 - Epistemologia 37 (1):106-118.
    Suppose that scientific realists believe that a successful theory is approximately true, and that constructive empiricists believe that it is empirically adequate. Whose belief is more likely to be false? The problem of underdetermination does not yield an answer to this question one way or the other, but the pessimistic induction does. The pessimistic induction, if correct, indicates that successful theories, both past and current, are empirically inadequate. It is arguable, however, that they are approximately true. Therefore, scientific realists overall (...)
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  • Skeptheism: Is Knowledge of God’s Existence Possible?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (1):41-64.
    In this paper, I sketch an argument for the view that we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists. Some call this view “strong agnosticism” but I prefer the term “skeptheism” in order to clearly distinguish between two distinct epistemic attitudes with respect to the existence of God, namely, agnosticism and skepticism. For the skeptheist, we cannot know (or have good reasons to believe) that God exists, since there can be neither conceptual (a priori) nor empirical (...)
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  • In Defense of Weak Scientism: A Reply to Brown.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (2):9-22.
    In “What’s So Bad about Scientism?” (Mizrahi 2017), I argue that Weak Scientism, the view that “Of all the knowledge we have, scientific knowledge is the best knowledge” (Mizrahi 2017, 354; emphasis in original) is a defensible position. That is to say, Weak Scientism “can be successfully defended against objections” (Mizrahi 2017, 354). In his response to Mizrahi (2017), Christopher Brown (2017) provides more objections against Weak Scientism, and thus another opportunity for me to show that Weak Scientism is a (...)
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  • The Pessimistic Induction and the Golden Rule.Seungbae Park - 2018 - Problemos 93:70-80.
    Nickles (2017) advocates scientific antirealism by appealing to the pessimistic induction over scientific theories, the illusion hypothesis (Quoidbach, Gilbert, and Wilson, 2013), and Darwin’s evolutionary theory. He rejects Putnam’s (1975: 73) no-miracles argument on the grounds that it uses inference to the best explanation. I object that both the illusion hypothesis and evolutionary theory clash with the pessimistic induction and with his negative attitude towards inference to the best explanation. I also argue that Nickles’s positive philosophical theories are subject to (...)
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  • The “Positive Argument” for Constructive Empiricism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):461–466.
    In this paper, I argue that the “positive argument” for Constructive Empiricism (CE), according to which CE “makes better sense of science, and of scientific activity, than realism does” (van Fraassen 1980, 73), is an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). But constructive empiricists are critical of IBE, and thus they have to be critical of their own “positive argument” for CE. If my argument is sound, then constructive empiricists are in the awkward position of having to reject their own (...)
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  • What’s so Bad About Scientism?Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Social Epistemology 31 (4):351-367.
    In their attempt to defend philosophy from accusations of uselessness made by prominent scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, some philosophers respond with the charge of ‘scientism.’ This charge makes endorsing a scientistic stance, a mistake by definition. For this reason, it begs the question against these critics of philosophy, or anyone who is inclined to endorse a scientistic stance, and turns the scientism debate into a verbal dispute. In this paper, I propose a different definition of scientism, and thus a (...)
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  • Why Scientific Knowledge Is Still the Best.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (9):18-32.
    In his latest attack, even though he claims to be a practitioner of “close reading” (Wills 2018b, 34), it appears that Wills still has not bothered to read the paper in which I defend the thesis he seeks to attack (Mizrahi 2017a), or any of the papers in my exchange with Brown (Mizrahi 2017b; 2018a), as evidenced by the fact that he does not cite them at all. This explains why Wills completely misunderstands Weak Scientism and the arguments for the (...)
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  • Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378.
    In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it (...)
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  • The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far.Moti Mizrahi - 2013 - Synthese 190 (15):3209-3226.
    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then (...)
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  • Existence and Strong Uncountability.Jonah Goldwater - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (3):321-331.
    On the standard view for something to exist is for one thing to exist: in slogan form, to be is to be countable. E.J. Lowe argues something can exist without being countable as one, however. His primary example is homogenous “stuff,” i.e., qualitatively uniform and infinitely divisible matter. Lacking nonarbitrary boundaries and being everywhere the same, homogenous stuff lacks a principle of individuation that would yield countably distinct constituents. So, for Lowe, homogenous stuff is strongly uncountable. Olson rejects Lowe’s view (...)
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  • Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (2):129-148.
    In this article, I argue that arguments from the history of science against scientific realism, like the arguments advanced by P. Kyle Stanford and Peter Vickers, are fallacious. The so-called Old Induction, like Vickers's, and New Induction, like Stanford's, are both guilty of confirmation bias—specifically, of cherry-picking evidence that allegedly challenges scientific realism while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I also show that the historical episodes that Stanford adduces in support of his New Induction are indeterminate between a pessimistic and (...)
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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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  • Weak Scientism Defended Once More: A Reply to Wills.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 7 (6):41-50.
    Bernard Wills (2018) joins Christopher Brown (2017, 2018) in criticizing my defense of Weak Scientism (Mizrahi 2017a, 2017b, 2018a). Unfortunately, it seems that Wills did not read my latest defense of Weak Scientism carefully, nor does he cite any of the other papers in my exchange with Brown.
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  • The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Simulation Hypothesis.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Think 16 (47):93-102.
    In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...)
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  • Authority and Natural Kind Essence.Jonah Goldwater - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (1):1-12.
    If natural kinds have microstructural essences they have them independently of rules for the application of kind terms. This suggests that what those rules are should make no difference to the essences being discoverable. I present two thought-experiments that suggest otherwise, however. Each shows an authority’s application of rules creates the appearance of there being kind essences; absent those rules, the appearance vanishes. This suggests natural kind essences are not independent of authority-sanctioned rules.
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