Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):82-98 (2018)

Authors
Jamie Shaw
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Abstract
There has been a great deal of skepticism towards the value of the realism/anti-realism debate. More specifically, many have argued that plausible formulations of realism and anti-realism do not differ substantially in any way. In this paper, I argue against this trend by demonstrating how a hypothetical resolution of the debate, through deeper engagement with the historical record, has important implications for our criterion of theory pursuit and science policy. I do this by revisiting Arthur Fine’s ‘small handful’ argument for realism and show how the debate centers on whether continuity should be an indicator for the future fruitfulness of a theory. I then demonstrate how these debates work in practice by considering the case of the Human Brain Project. I close by considering some potential practical considerations of formulating meta-inductions. By doing this, I contribute three insights to the current debate: 1) demonstrate how the realism/anti-realism debate is a substantive debate, 2) connect debates about realism/anti-realism to debates about theory choice and pursuit, and 3) show the practical significance of meta-inductions.
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DOI 10.4245/sponge.v9i1.27760
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

On the Very Idea of Pursuitworthiness.Jamie Shaw - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:103-112.
Sins of Inquiry: How to Criticize Scientific Pursuits.Marina DiMarco & Kareem Khalifa - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:86-96.
From Planning to Entrepreneurship: On the Political Economy of Scientific Pursuit.Erik Baker - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92:27-35.

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