Approximate Truth vs. Empirical Adequacy

Epistemologia 37 (1):106-118 (2014)
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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 take less epistemic risk than constructive empiricists.

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Seungbae Park
Ulsan National Institute Of Science And Technology


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