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  1. Scientific Realism and Blocking Strategies.Raimund Pils - forthcoming - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science:1-17.
    My target is the epistemological dimension of the realism debate. After establishing a stance voluntarist framework with a Jamesian background, drawing mostly on Wylie, Chakravarty, and van Fraassen, I argue that current voluntarists are too permissive. I show that especially various anti-realist stances but also some realist and selective realist stances block themselves from refutation by the history of science. I argue that such stances should be rejected. Finally, I propose that any disagreement that cannot be resolved by this strategy (...)
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  • The Pursuit of Knowledge and the Problem of the Unconceived Alternatives.Fabio Sterpetti & Marta Bertolaso - 2020 - Topoi 39 (4):881-892.
    In the process of scientific discovery, knowledge ampliation is pursued by means of non-deductive inferences. When ampliative reasoning is performed, probabilities cannot be assigned objectively. One of the reasons is that we face the problem of the unconceived alternatives: we are unable to explore the space of all the possible alternatives to a given hypothesis, because we do not know how this space is shaped. So, if we want to adequately account for the process of knowledge ampliation, we need to (...)
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  • On Mizrahi’s Argument Against Stanford’s Instrumentalism.Fabio Sterpetti - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (2):103-125.
    Mizrahi’s argument against Stanford’s challenge to scientific realism is analyzed. Mizrahi’s argument is worth of attention for at least two reasons: unlike other criticisms that have been made to Stanford’s view so far, Mizrahi’s argument does not question any specific claim of Stanford’s argument, rather it puts into question the very coherence of Stanford’s position, because it argues that since Stanford’s argument rests on the problem of the unconceived alternatives, Stanford’s argument is self-defeating. Thus, if Mizrahi’s argument is effective in (...)
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  • A Conceptual Problem for Stanford’s New Induction.Bruno Malavolta E. Silva - forthcoming - Filosofia Unisinos:1-11.
    The problem of unconceived alternatives states that, since scientists have recurrently failed to conceive relevant theoretical alternatives for some domains of science, current scientists are probably also failing to do so. Therefore, there may be theories which still exceed the grasp of scientists’ imagination, and one should not endorse a realist stance towards current science. In this paper, I raise a conceptual worry for the formulation of this problem: what does it mean to say that scientists failed to conceive a (...)
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  • On the Very Idea of Pursuitworthiness.Jamie Shaw - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:103-112.
    Recent philosophical literature has turned its attention towards assessments of how to judge scientific proposals as worthy of further inquiry. Previous work, as well as papers contained within this special issue, propose criteria for pursuitworthiness (Achinstein, 1993; Whitt, 1992; DiMarco & Khalifa, 2019; Laudan, 1977; Shan, 2020; Šešelja et al., 2012). The purpose of this paper is to assess the grounds on which pursuitworthiness demands can be legitimately made. To do this, I propose a challenge to the possibility of even (...)
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  • The Structure and Function of Experimental Control in the Life Sciences.Jutta Schickore - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):203-218.
    This article presents a new framework for the analysis of experimental control. The framework highlights different functions for experimental controls in the realization of an experiment: experimental controls that serve as tests and experimental controls that serve as probes. The approach to experimental control proposed here can illuminate the constitutive role of controls in knowledge production, and it sheds new light on the notion of exploratory experimentation. It also clarifies what can and what cannot be expected from reviewers of scientific (...)
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  • 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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  • Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):59-68.
    In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (PUA). From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy (Mizrahi 2014), it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key (...)
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  • An Absurd Consequence of Stanford’s New Induction Over the History of Science: A Reply to Sterpetti.Moti Mizrahi - 2019 - Axiomathes 29 (5):515-527.
    In this paper, I respond to Sterpetti’s attempt to defend Kyle P. Stanford’s Problem of Unconceived Alternatives and his New Induction over the History of Science from my reductio argument outlined in Mizrahi :59–68, 2016a). I discuss what I take to be the ways in which Sterpetti has misconstrued my argument against Stanford’s NIS, in particular, that it is a reductio, not a dilemma, as Sterpetti erroneously thinks. I argue that antirealists who endorse Stanford’s NIS still face an absurd consequence (...)
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  • Reasonable Doubt From Unconceived Alternatives.Hylke Jellema - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    In criminal trials, judges or jurors have to decide whether the facts described in the indictment are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, these decision-makers cannot always imagine every relevant sequence of events—there may be unconceived alternatives. The possibility of unconceived alternatives is an overlooked source of reasonable doubt. I argue that decision-makers should not consider the defendant’s guilt proven if they have good reasons to believe that plausible, unconceived scenarios exist. I explore this thesis through the lens of the (...)
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  • The Propagation of Suspension of Judgment. Or, Should We Confer Any Weight to Crucial Objections the Truth-Value of Which We Are Ignorant?Aldo Filomeno - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    It is not uncommon in the history of science and philosophy to encounter crucial experiments or crucial objections the truth-value of which we are ignorant, that is, about which we suspend judgment. Should we ignore such objections? Contrary to widespread practice, I show that in and only in some circumstances they should not be ignored, for the epistemically rational doxastic attitude is to suspend judgment also about the hypothesis that the objection targets. In other words, suspension of judgment "propagates" from (...)
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  • Evidence Amalgamation, Plausibility, and Cancer Research.Marta Bertolaso & Fabio Sterpetti - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3279-3317.
    Cancer research is experiencing ‘paradigm instability’, since there are two rival theories of carcinogenesis which confront themselves, namely the somatic mutation theory and the tissue organization field theory. Despite this theoretical uncertainty, a huge quantity of data is available thanks to the improvement of genome sequencing techniques. Some authors think that the development of new statistical tools will be able to overcome the lack of a shared theoretical perspective on cancer by amalgamating as many data as possible. We think instead (...)
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