Realism and the limits of explanatory reasoning

In The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. London: Routledge. pp. 200-211 (2018)
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Abstract
This chapter examines issues surrounding inference to the best explanation, its justification, and its role in different arguments for scientific realism, as well as more general issues concerning explanations’ ontological commitments. Defending the reliability of inference to the best explanation has been a central plank in various realist arguments, and realists have drawn various ontological conclusions from the premise that a given scientific explanation best explains some phenomenon. This chapter stresses the importance of thinking carefully about the nature of explanation in connection with evaluating realists’ appeals to explanatory reasoning and inference to the best explanation.
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