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Optimism about the Pessimistic Induction

Roush, Sherrilyn (2010) Optimism about the Pessimistic Induction. New Waves. pp. 29-58.

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Abstract

I argue that pessimistic inductions over the history of science have not made the case that the failures of our predecessors give us reason to dial down our confidence in our scientific theories. I explain why an effective pessimistic induction must do more than meets the eye; it must show that 1) the supposed unreliability of our predecessors is relevant to what we should think about our own reliability, and 2) if we believe that we are lacking reliability – a second-order property – then we are rationally obligated to withdraw confidence in our first-order beliefs. I assist the pessimist by providing an account of fallibility that explains why the second is true. However, I show that the fact that we use different methods than our predecessors breaks the pessimistic induction from their unreliability to a conclusion that we are unreliable. To threaten our rational confidence in our particular theories, the pessimist needs much more than he has offered.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Roush, Sherrilynsherri.roush@gmail.com
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Sherrilyn Roush
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2020 03:23
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2020 03:23
Item ID: 17396
Journal or Publication Title: New Waves
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Official URL: https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9780230222632#abo...
DOI or Unique Handle: 978-0-230-22263-2
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2010
Page Range: pp. 29-58
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17396

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