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A new perspective on No Miracle Argument

Erfanifar, T (2022) A new perspective on No Miracle Argument. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper delves into the debate between scientific realism and anti-realism concerning the success of scientific theories. The no miracle argument posits that the ability of theories to make accurate predictions is due to their reflection of the true structure of the world. This argument suggests that mature and well-confirmed scientific theories approximate truth, leading to the existence of unobservable entities, such as electrons, in the world. On the other hand, anti-realists attribute the success of science to natural selection, likening unsuccessful theories to extinct species and successful theories to adaptable survivors. According to this view, success is determined by social consensus and pragmatic considerations, rather than truth. Wray argues in favor of selectionism, emphasizing the relative nature of success and its dependence on changing standards within the research community. While some realists align selectionism with their perspective, Van Fraassen raises skepticism about the connection between truth and success. Wray presents three reasons for the incompatibility of realism and selectionism, although alternative justifications exist. The paper further examines the flawed analogy between scientific evolution and natural selection, highlighting the continuous need for theory-based explanations in experimental successes. Additionally, the process of scientific evolution is shown to involve revolutionary changes rather than a continuous convergence towards truth. Finally, the role of observation in realist explanations is questioned, as observations are theory-laden and influenced by specific conceptual frameworks. The paper concludes that Wray's argument for the incompatibility of anti-realism and realism appears reasonable, considering the complexities of scientific practice and the diverse perspectives within different scientific disciplines.


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Item Type: Preprint
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Erfanifar, T
Keywords: Scientific realism No miracle argument Anti-realism
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Taban T.E Erfanifar
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2023 14:47
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2023 14:47
Item ID: 22320
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22320

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