Entity Realism Meets the Pessimistic Meta-Induction – The World is not Enough

SATS 7 (106):26 (2006)
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In the following I briefly set out Devitt's (1997) definition of entity realism and compare it to Hacking's (1983) definition. I then set out the pessimistic induction argument as suggested by Putnam (1978). I present an argument developed by Bertolet (1988) to the effect that Devitt's abductive defence of realism fails. In the light of its failure, Devitt offers the ability of his definition of scientific realism to solve the pessimistic induction argument as a tactical advantage for his definition. I argue that Devitt's account is not adequately suited for defending realism when confronted with the pessimistic induction argument. I do this by setting out three problems for Devitt. In particular I argue that Devitt does not provide an adequate account of how to identify entities across theories across time. I argue that his proposed solution employing 'partial reference' of terms generates a new pessimistic induction, and that Devitt's position does not provide an adequate account of how to make sense of the progress of science



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Jacob Busch
University of Aarhus

Citations of this work

Are Unconceived Alternatives a Problem for Scientific Realism?Michael Devitt - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):285-293.

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References found in this work

A confutation of convergent realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Theory change and the indeterminacy of reference.Hartry Field - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):462-481.

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