Form-driven vs. content-driven arguments for realism

In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave-Macmillan (2009)
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Abstract

I offer a meta-level analysis of realist arguments for the reliability of ampliative reasoning about the unobservable. We can distinguish form-driven and content-driven arguments for realism: form-driven arguments appeal to the form of inductive inferences, whilst content-driven arguments appeal to their specific content. After regimenting the realism debate in these terms, I will argue that the content-driven arguments are preferable. Along the way I will discuss how my analysis relates to John Norton’s recent, more general thesis that the grounds for licit induction are always material.

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Juha Saatsi
University of Leeds

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