Scientific Realism and the 'Pessimistic Induction'

Philosophy of Science 63 (5):S306-S314 (1996)
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Over the last two decades, the debate over scientific realism has been dominated by two arguments that pull in contrary directions: the 'no miracle' argument and the 'pessimistic induction'. The latter suggests that the historical record destroys the realist's belief in an explanatory connection between truthlikeness and genuine empirical success. This paper analyzes the structure of the 'pessimistic induction', presents a move--the divide et impera move--that neutralizes it, and motivates a substantive yet realistic version of scientific realism. This move is also compared with Worrall's and Kitcher's recent reactions to the 'pessimistic induction'.



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Stathis Psillos
University of Athens

Citations of this work

What is structural realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction.Seungbae Park - 2010 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):75-84.
Pessimistic Inductions: Four Varieties.K. Brad Wray - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):61-73.

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References found in this work

A confutation of convergent realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 2001 - In Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. New York: Routledge. pp. 211.
Realism and Truth.Michael Devitt - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):657-663.

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