A Realistic Argument for Scientific Realism: How to be a Realist Without Really Knowing It

Philosophia 48 (5):1901-1914 (2020)
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Abstract
In this paper I provide a novel argument for scientific realism. In contrast to most recent defenses of SR, my defense of SR does not rely on the no-miracles argument. Instead, I take a more unconventional approach: I focus on the different kinds of justification available to different individuals in relation to different kinds of propositions. I maintain that this alternative focus shows that most people are warranted in believing many propositions about unobservables. The paper is divided into three main sections. In the first, I rehearse the main moves in the recent debate about SR. In the second, I argue that the discussion in section one enables us to see that most of the arguments in the recent debate about SR mistake their target: instead of being about SR, they are about meta-SR. I argue that what I call the JJ-principle should be rejected and, further, that if the JJ-principle is rejected, then meta-SR may be cleaved from SR. This enables me to advance to a position I call thin realism in the third and final section of the paper.
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Archival date: 2020-07-06
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2020-05-26

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