Scientific Realism and Empirical Confirmation: a Puzzle

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Abstract
Scientific realism driven by inference to the best explanation (IBE) takes empirically confirmed objects to exist,independent,paceempiricism, of whether those objects are observable or not. This kind of realism, it has beenclaimed, does not need probabilistic reasoning to justify the claim that these objects exist. But I show that thereare scientific contexts in which a non-probabilistic IBE-driven realism leads to a puzzle. Since IBE can be appliedin scientific contexts in which empirical confirmation has not yet been reached, realists will in these contexts becommitted to the existence of empirically unconfirmed objects. As a consequence of such commitments, becausethey lack probabilistic features, the possible empirical confirmation of those objects is epistemically redundantwith respect to realism.
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Archival date: 2021-11-04
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