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Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne
  1. Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science.Howard Sankey - 2008 - Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  2. The Incommensurability Thesis.Howard Sankey - 1994 - Avebury.
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  3.  56
    To Believe is to Believe True.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology.
    It is argued that to believe is to believe true. That is, when one believes a proposition one thereby believes the proposition to be true. This is a point about what it is to believe rather than about the aim of belief or the standard of correctness for belief. The point that to believe is to believe true appears to be an analytic truth about the concept of belief. It also appears to be essential to the state of belief that (...)
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  4.  79
    Kuhn's Legacy: Epistemology, Metaphilosophy, and Pragmatism. [REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (4):532-535.
    This is a book review of Bojana Mladenovic, Kuhn's Legacy: Epistemology, Metaphilosophy, and Pragmatism .
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  5.  31
    A Selective Survey of Theories of Scientific Method.Howard Sankey & Robert Nola - 2000 - In Robert Nola & Howard Sankey (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 1-65.
    This is a survey of theories of scientific method which opens the book "After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method".
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  6. Science, Common Sense and Reality.Howard Sankey - manuscript
    Does science provide knowledge of reality? In this paper, I offer a positive response to this question. I reject the anti-realist claim that we are unable to acquire knowledge of reality in favour of the realist view that science yields knowledge of the external world. But what world is that? Some argue that science leads to the overthrow of our commonsense view of the world. Common sense is “stone-age metaphysics” to be rejected as the false theory of our primitive ancestors. (...)
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  7.  15
    The Relativistic Legacy of Kuhn and Feyerabend.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In M. Kusch (ed.), Routledge Handbook to Relativism. Routledge.
    Relativism in the philosophy of science is widely associated with the work of Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend. Kuhn and Feyerabend espoused views about conceptual change and variation of scientific method that have apparent relativistic implications. Both held that scientific theories or paradigms may be incommensurable due to semantic variation. Two ways that truth may be relative because of semantic incommensurability will be distinguished. Davidson’s criticism of the idea of an untranslatable language will be discussed, as well as a response (...)
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  8. Realism, Progress and the Historical Turn.Howard Sankey - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (1):201-214.
    The contemporary debate between scientific realism and anti-realism is conditioned by a polarity between two opposing arguments: the realist’s success argument and the anti-realist’s pessimistic induction. This polarity has skewed the debate away from the problem that lies at the source of the debate. From a realist point of view, the historical approach to the philosophy of science which came to the fore in the 1960s gave rise to an unsatisfactory conception of scientific progress. One of the main motivations for (...)
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  9. Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence.Howard Sankey - 2001 - Theoria A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
    This paper describes the position of scientific realism and presents the basic lines of argument for the position. Simply put, scientific realism is the view that the aim of science is knowledge of the truth about observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent, objective reality. Scientific realism is supported by several distinct lines of argument. It derives from a non-anthropocentric conception of our place in the natural world, and it is grounded in the epistemology and metaphysics of common sense. Further, (...)
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  10. Incommensurability: The Current State of Play.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Theoria 12 (3):425-445.
    The incommensurability thesis is the thesis that the content of some alternative scientific theories is incomparable due to translation failure between the vocabulary the theories employ. This paper presents an overview of the main issues which have arisen in the debate about incommensurability. It also briefly outlines a response to the thesis based on a modified causal theory of reference which allows change of reference subsequent to initial baptism, as well as a role to description in the determination of reference. (...)
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  11.  76
    Scientific Realism and the Conflict with Common Sense.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In Wenceslao Gonzalez (ed.), New Approaches to Scientific Realism. De Gruyter.
    In this paper, I explore the purported conflict between science and common sense within the context of scientific realism. I argue for a version of scientific realism which retains commitment to realism about common sense rather than seeking to eliminate it.
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  12.  10
    Kuhn, Coherentism and Perception.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In Pablo Melogno, Hernán Miguel & Leandro Giri (eds.), Perspectives On Kuhn.
    The paper takes off from the suggestion of Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen that Kuhn’s account of science may be understood in coherentist terms. There are coherentist themes in Kuhn’s philosophy of science. But one crucial element is lacking. Kuhn does not deny the existence of basic beliefs which have a non-doxastic source of justification. Nor does he assert that epistemic justification only derives from inferential relationships between non-basic beliefs. Despite this, the coherentist interpretation is promising and I develop it further in this (...)
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  13.  69
    Kuhn, Relativism and Realism.Howard Sankey - 2018 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 72-83.
    The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between Kuhn’s views about science and scientific realism. I present an overview of key features of Kuhn’s model of scientific change. The model suggests a relativistic approach to the methods of science. I bring out a conflict between this relativistic approach and a realist approach to the norms of method. I next consider the question of progress and truth. Kuhn’s model is a problem-solving model that proceeds by way of puzzles (...)
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  14.  72
    Putnam's Internal Realism in Retrospect.Howard Sankey - 2018 - Análisis. Revista de Investigación Filosófica 5 (1):27-50.
    As is well known, Putnam changed his philosophical position on a number of occasions throughout his career. In this paper, I reconsider the position of internal realism which Putnam defended from the mid-1970’s until around 1990. The paper opens with a discussion of the position that Putnam called “metaphysical realism”, since his internal realism emerged out of a critique of that position. The paper then briefly presents the internal realist view as one which involves an epistemic conception of truth, as (...)
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  15. Methodological Pluralism, Normative Naturalism and the Realist Aim of Science.Howard Sankey - 2000 - In Howard Sankey & Robert Nola (eds.), After Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method. Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 211-229.
    There are two chief tasks which confront the philosophy of scientific method. The first task is to specify the methodology which serves as the objective ground for scientific theory appraisal and acceptance. The second task is to explain how application of this methodology leads to advance toward the aim(s) of science. In other words, the goal of the theory of method is to provide an integrated explanation of both rational scientific theory choice and scientific progress.
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  16.  57
    Reality and the Ashtray: Review of Errol Morris The Ashtray (Or The Man Who Denied Reality). [REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2019 - Metascience 28 (1):65-67.
    This is a book review of Errol Morris's book The Ashtray (Or the Man Who Denied Reality).
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  17. Scientific Realism and Basic Common Sense.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Kairos 10:11-24.
    This paper considers the relationship between science and common sense. It takes as its point of departure, Eddington’s distinction between the table of physics and the table of common sense, as well as Eddington’s suggestion that science shows common sense to be false. Against the suggestion that science shows common sense to be false, it is argued that there is a form of common sense, basic common sense, which is not typically overthrown by scientific research. Such basic common sense is (...)
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  18.  71
    Induction and Natural Kinds Revisited.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In Stathis Psillos, Benjamin Hill & Henrik Lagerlund (eds.), Causal Powers in Science: Blending Historical and Conceptual Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    In ‘Induction and Natural Kinds’, I proposed a solution to the problem of induction according to which our use of inductive inference is reliable because it is grounded in the natural kind structure of the world. When we infer that unobserved members of a kind will have the same properties as observed members of the kind, we are right because all members of the kind possess the same essential properties. The claim that the existence of natural kinds is what grounds (...)
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  19. Rationality, Relativism and Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Ashgate.
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  20.  14
    Judgement and Rational Theory-Choice.Howard Sankey - 1994 - Methodology and Science 27 (3):167-182.
    It is argued that in the absence of an algorithm of theory-choice, a role must be played by deliberative judgement in the process of choosing rationally between theories.
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  21. Subject and Object in Scientific Realism.Howard Sankey - 2017 - In Paula Angelova, Jassen Andreev & Emil Lensky (eds.), Das Interpretative Universum. Wurzburg, Germany: Konigshausen & Neumann. pp. 293-306.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship between the subject and the object from the perspective of scientific realism.
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  22.  64
    Scientific Method.Howard Sankey - 2008 - In Stathis Psillos & Martin Curd (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 248-258.
    This is an introductory overview of theories of scientific method.
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  23.  53
    Incommensurability and Theory Change.Howard Sankey - 2011 - In Steven Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 456-474.
    The paper explores the relativistic implications of the thesis of incommensurability. A semantic form of incommensurability due to semantic variation between theories is distinguished from a methodological form due to variation in methodological standards between theories. Two responses to the thesis of semantic incommensurability are dealt with: the first challenges the idea of untranslatability to which semantic incommensurability gives rise; the second holds that relations of referential continuity eliminate semantic incommensurability. It is then argued that methodological incommensurability poses little risk (...)
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  24. Qu'est-ce que le realisme scientifique?Howard Sankey - 2002 - Reseaux 94:69-82.
    Les tables, les chaises, les gens assis sur des chaises, à des tables sont des objets composés de matière. Selon la science, la matière se compose principalement d'atomes. Les atomes sont faits d'électrons, de neutrons et de protons. Les neutrons et les protons forment un noyau autour duquel orbitent les électrons. Outre ces particules, les physiciens en ont découvert un grand nombre d'autres, comme les photons, les quarks et les neutrinos.
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  25.  12
    Truth and Reality in Social Constructivism.Howard Sankey & Geoffrey Bowker - 1993/1994 - Arena Journal 2:233-252.
    This is a co-authored dialogue which explores epistemological and metaphysical questions raised by a social constructivist approach to science.
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  26.  29
    Thomas Kuhn by Alexander Bird. [REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):654-657.
    This is a review of Alexander Bird's book on Thomas Kuhn.
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  27.  75
    A Dilemma for the Scientific Realist.Howard Sankey - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):65-67.
    This note poses a dilemma for scientific realism which stems from the apparent conflict between science and common sense. On the one hand, we may accept scientific realism and agree that there is a conflict between science and common sense. If we do this, we remove the evidential basis for science and have no reason to accept science in the first place. On the other hand, we may accept scientific realism and endorse common sense. If we do this, we must (...)
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  28. Reference, Success and Entity Realism.Howard Sankey - 2012 - Kairos 5:31-42.
    The paper discusses the version of entity realism presented by Ian Hacking in his book, Representing and Intervening. Hacking holds that an ontological form of scientific realism, entity realism, may be defended on the basis of experimental practices which involve the manipulation of unobservable entities. There is much to be said in favour of the entity realist position that Hacking defends, especially the pragmatist orientation of his approach to realism. But there are problems with the position. The paper explores two (...)
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  29.  10
    Underdetermination in Economics: The Duhem-Quine Thesis.K. R. Sawyer, Howard Sankey & Clive Beed - 1997 - Economics and Philosophy 13 (1):1-23.
    This paper considers the relevance of the Duhem-Quine thesis in economics. In the introductory discussion which follows, the meaning of the thesis and a brief history of its development are detailed. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the effects of the thesis in four specific and diverse theories in economics, and to illustrate the dependence of testing the theories on a set of auxiliary hypotheses. A general taxonomy of auxiliary hypotheses is provided to demonstrate the confounding of auxiliary (...)
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  30.  46
    Some Reflections on Experimental Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 2008 - In Lena Soler, Howard Sankey & Paul Hoyningen-Huene (eds.), Rethinking Scientific Change and Theory Comparison. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 341-347.
    This is a comment on Lena Soler's 'The Incommensurability of Experimental Practices'.
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  31. Kuhn, Normativity and History and Philosophy of Science.Howard Sankey - 2012 - Epistemologia:103-111.
    This paper addresses the relationship between the history and philosophy of science by way of the issue of epistemic normativity. After brief discussion of the relationship between history and philosophy of science in Kuhn’s own thinking, the paper focuses on the implications of the history of science for epistemic normativity. There may be historical evidence for change of scientific methodology, which may seem to support a position of epistemic relativism. However, the fact that the methods of science undergo variation does (...)
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  32. Kuhn's Ontological Relativism.Howard Sankey - 2000 - Science & Education 9 (1-2):59-75.
    In this paper, I provide an interpretation of ontological aspects of Kuhn's theory of science.
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  33. Scepticism, Relativism and a Naturalistic Particularism.Howard Sankey - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):395-412.
    This paper presents a particularist and naturalist response to epistemic relativism. The response is based on an analysis of the source of epistemic relativism, according to which epistemic relativism is closely related to Pyrrhonian scepticism. The paper starts with a characterization of epistemic relativism. Such relativism is explicitly distinguished from epistemological contextualism. Next the paper presents an argument for epistemic relativism that is based on the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. It then considers a response to the problem of the (...)
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  34.  41
    Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 2006 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 370-373.
    This is a short introductory discussion of the idea of incommensurability as it is used in the philosophy of science.
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  35.  12
    Rescuing Renouvier. [REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):1-2.
    This is a short review of Warren Schmaus's Liberty and the Pursuit of Knowledge: Charles Renouvier's Political Philosophy of Science.
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  36.  54
    The Demise of the Incommensurability Thesis.Howard Sankey - 2016 - In Moti Mizrahi (ed.), The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 75-91.
    The paper briefly reviews the main formulations of the incommensurability thesis by Feyerabend and Kuhn, as well as the main criticisms leveled against it. The question is then raised of whether there is a "phenomenon" of incommensurability that has been "discovered". It is argued that there is no such phenomenon.
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  37. Relativism, Particularism and Reflective Equilibrium.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (2):281-292.
    In previous work, I have sought to show that the basic argument for epistemic relativism derives from the problem of the criterion that stems from ancient Pyrrhonian scepticism. Because epistemic relativism depends upon a sceptical strategy, it is possible to respond to relativism on the basis of an anti-sceptical strategy. I argue that the particularist response to scepticism proposed by Roderick Chisholm may be combined with a naturalistic and reliabilist conception of epistemic warrant as the basis for a satisfactory response (...)
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  38.  4
    Neither a Truism nor a Triviality: Reply to Grzankowski.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology.
    This is a reply to Grzankowski's comment on my paper 'To Believe is to Believe True'. I argue that the claim that to believe is to believe true is consistent with the possibility that someone may believe a proposition but not possess the concept of truth. I also argue that to believe P true is not the same as to believe 'P is true'.
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  39.  72
    Ciencia, realidad y racionalidad.Howard Sankey - 2015 - University of Cauca Press.
    This is a collection of my essays in the philosophy of science which have been translated into Spanish.
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  40. El realismo cientifico y el punto de vista del Ojo de Dios.Howard Sankey - 2011 - Revista Disertaciones 2:59-74.
    This article is a Spanish translation of 'Scientific Realism and the God's Eye Point of View'.
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  41.  22
    What is Scientific Realism?Howard Sankey - 2000 - Divinatio 12:103-120.
    This is an introduction to the position of scientific realism, which outlines a number of core doctrines of scientific realism, and indicates a number of optional and non-core doctrine. It also sketches the basic argument for scientific realism, known as the success argument.
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  42. The Problem of Rational Theory-Choice.Howard Sankey - 1995 - Epistemologia 18 (2):299-312.
    The problem of rational theory-choice is the problem of whether choice of theory by a scientist may be objectively rational in the absence of an invariant scientific method. In this paper I offer a solution to the problem, but the solution I propose may come as something of a surprise. For I wish to argue that the work of the very authors who have put the rationality of such choice in question, Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, contains all that is (...)
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  43.  7
    Il Problema Dell'Incommensurabilita Delle Teorie Scientifiche.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Nuova Secondaria 5:61-66.
    This is an Italian translation of a lecture on incommensurability given at the University of Genoa.
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  44. Realism, Method and Truth.Howard Sankey - 2002 - In Michele Marsonet (ed.), The Problem of Realism. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 64-81.
    What is the relation between method and truth? Are we justified in accepting a theory that satisfies the rules of scientific method as true? Such questions divide realism from anti-realism in the philosophy of science. Scientific realists take the methods of science to promote the realist aim of correspondence truth. Anti-realists either claim that the methods of science promote lesser epistemic goals than realist truth, or else they reject the realist conception of truth altogether. In this paper, I propose a (...)
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  45.  19
    Realism Without Limits.Howard Sankey - 2004 - Divinatio 20:145-165.
    This is a sequel to my paper, ‘What is Scientific Realism?’, which appeared in an earlier issue of this journal (Sankey, 2000a). A number of papers by other authors on topics relating to scientific realism have followed in subsequent issues. In this paper I revisit some of the themes developed in my earlier paper in the light of these later papers. I begin by restating the key ideas of the earlier paper. Next, I mention a number of afterthoughts which I (...)
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  46.  15
    Incommensurability: An Overview.Howard Sankey - 1999 - Divinatio 10:135-48.
    Opening remarks delivered at "Incommensurability (and related matters)" conference, Hanover, June 1999.
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  47.  97
    Chisholm, scepticisme et relativisme.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 10 (6).
    Cet article esquisse une réponse particulariste et naturaliste au relativisme épistémique. La réponse est basée sur une analyse spécifique de la source de relativisme épistémique. Selon cette analyse, le relativisme épistémique doit être considérée en lien proche avec le scepticisme pyrrhonien, car le relativisme est basée sur le problème du critère qui a été propose par les ces anciens sceptiques. L’article commence avec une caractérisation du relativisme épistémique. Puis il présente un argument pour le relativisme épistémique sur la base du (...)
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  48.  14
    Comment on Scientific Objectivity with a Human Face by Professor Holm Tetens.Howard Sankey - 2004 - In Martin Carrier, J. Roggenhoffer, G. Kuppers & Ph Blanchard (eds.), Knowledge and the World: Challenges Beyond the Science Wars. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 95-98.
    This is a comment on Professor Holm Tetens' paper, 'Scientific Objectivity with a Human Face'.
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  49.  14
    A Less Than Direct Connection Indeed: Reply to Jakowljewitsch.Howard Sankey - 2006 - Divinatio 24:157-168.
    This is a response to Dragan Jakowljewitsch's 'The Successes of Science and Scientific-Theoretical Realism: A Less Than Direct Connection'.
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  50. Est-il rationnel de chercher la vérité?Howard Sankey - 2000 - Revue Philosophique De Louvain 98 (3):589-602.
    This paper addresses the question of whether it is rational for scientists to pursue the realist aim of truth. The point of departure is a pair of objections to the aim of truth due to the anti-realist author, Larry Laudan: first, it is not rational to pursue an aim such as truth which we cannot know we have reached; second, truth is not a legitimate aim for science because it cannot be shown to be attained. Against Laudan, it is argued (...)
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