Robustness and reality

Synthese 192 (12):3961-3977 (2015)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Robustness is often presented as a guideline for distinguishing the true or real from mere appearances or artifacts. Most of recent discussions of robustness have focused on the kind of derivational robustness analysis introduced by Levins, while the related but distinct idea of robustness as multiple accessibility, defended by Wimsatt, has received less attention. In this paper, I argue that the latter kind of robustness, when properly understood, can provide justification for ontological commitments. The idea is that we are justified in believing that things studied by science are real insofar as we have robust evidence for them. I develop and analyze this idea in detail, and based on concrete examples show that it plays an important role in science. Finally, I demonstrate how robustness can be used to clarify the debate on scientific realism and to formulate new arguments.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-10-10
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 39 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
213 ( #15,050 of 41,562 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #11,248 of 41,562 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.