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Verisimilitude: a causal approach

Northcott, Robert (2013) Verisimilitude: a causal approach. Synthese, 190 (9). pp. 1471-1488. ISSN 1573-0964

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Abstract

I present a new definition of verisimilitude, framed in terms of causes. Roughly speaking, according to it a scientific model is approximately true if it captures accurately the strengths of the causes present in any given situation. Against much of the literature, I argue that any satisfactory account of verisimilitude must inevitably restrict its judgments to context-specific models rather than general theories. We may still endorse – and only need – a relativized notion of scientific progress, understood now not as global advance but rather as the mastering of particular problems. This also sheds new light on longstanding difficulties surrounding language-dependence and models committed to false ontologies.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Northcott, Robertr.northcott@bbk.ac.uk
Keywords: verisimilitude; approximate truth; realism; causation; context
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr Robert Northcott
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 17:07
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2018 17:07
Item ID: 15393
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: June 2013
Page Range: pp. 1471-1488
Volume: 190
Number: 9
ISSN: 1573-0964
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15393

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