Newman’s Objection and the No Miracles Argument

Erkenntnis 82 (5):993-1014 (2017)
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Abstract

Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist’s claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, several theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I will argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman’s Objection is to return to one of the standard motivations for adopting structural realism in the first place: the No Miracles Argument. Far from betraying the spirit of structural realism, the solution I present is available to any theorist who endorses this argument.

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Robert Smithson
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

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