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The Probabilistic No Miracles Argument

Sprenger, Jan (2015) The Probabilistic No Miracles Argument. [Preprint]

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This paper develops a probabilistic reconstruction of the No Miracles Argument (NMA) in the debate between scientific realists and anti-realists. The goal of the paper is to clarify and to sharpen the NMA by means of a probabilistic formalization. In particular, we demonstrate that the persuasive force of the NMA depends on the particular disciplinary context where it is applied, and the stability of theories in that discipline. Assessments and critiques of "the" NMA, without reference to a particular context, are misleading and should be relinquished. This result has repercussions for recent anti-realist arguments, such as the claim that the NMA commits the base rate fallacy (Howson 2000, Magnus and Callender2004). It also helps to explain the persistent disagreement between realists and anti-realists.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: scientific realism Bayesian epistemology No Miracles Argument
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Jan Sprenger
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016 18:21
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2016 18:21
Item ID: 11884
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: March 2015

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