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Predictive success, partial truth and skeptical realism

Leconte, Gauvain (2014) Predictive success, partial truth and skeptical realism. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Realists argue that mature theories enjoying predictive success are approximately and partially true, and that the parts of the theory necessary to this success are retained through theory-change and worthy of belief. I examine the paradigmatic case of the novel prediction of a white spot in the shadow of a circular object, drawn from Fresnel's wave theory of light by Poisson in 1819. It reveals two problems in this defence of realism: predictive success needs theoretical idealizations and fictions on the one hand, and may be obtained by using different parts of the same theory on the other hand.

I maintain that these two problems are not limited to the case of the white spot, but common features of predictive success. It shows that the no-miracle argument by itself cannot prove more than a \textit{skeptical realism}, the claim that we cannot know which parts of theories are true. I conclude by examining if Hacking's manipulability arguments can be of any help to go beyond this position.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Leconte, Gauvaingauvainleconte@gmail.com
Keywords: scientific realism, novel prediction, no-miracle argument, partial truth, manipulability
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Mr Gauvain Leconte
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2014 15:02
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2014 15:02
Item ID: 10925
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: August 2014
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10925

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