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Realism and the Absence of Rivals

Dellsén, Finnur (2017) Realism and the Absence of Rivals. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Among the most serious challenges to scientific realism are arguments for the underdetermination of theory by evidence. This paper defends a version of scientific realism against what is perhaps the most influential recent argument of this sort, viz. Kyle Stanford’s New Induction over the History of Science. An essential part of the defense consists in a probabilistic analysis of the slogan “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. On this basis it is argued that the likelihood of a theory being underdetermined depends crucially on social and historical factors, such as the structure of scientific communities and the time that has passed since the theory first became accepted. This is then shown to serve as the epistemological foundation for a version of scientific realism which avoids Stanford’s New Induction in a principled and non-question-begging way.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Dellsén, Finnurfinnurd@gmail.com0000-0003-4989-4204
Additional Information: Published in Synthese.
Keywords: scientific realism; the new induction; the problem of unconceived alternatives; evidence of absence; absence of evidence
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr. Finnur Dellsén
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2019 00:22
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2019 00:22
Item ID: 15538
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11229...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1059-3
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15538

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