Real Anti‐realism: The Evidential Approach

Sherrilyn Roush

in Tracking Truth

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199274734
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603228 | DOI:
Real Anti‐realism: The Evidential Approach

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This chapter argues that confirmation theory is relevant to the debate between epistemological realism and anti-realism about scientific theories, because typical realist and anti-realist claims about evidence are measure-dependent. It contends that no known measure makes Constructive Empiricism viable, but this is not the victory for the realist that it is assumed to be. Using the measure (standard of evidence) most suited to defending the realist’s general claims, it is argued that this standard is not actually fulfilled for any high-level theories in science. However, it is fulfilled for many low-level claims that go beyond observables. Whether the catch-all for a hypothesis can be evaluated is the crucial question for realism and anti-realism.

Keywords: realism; anti-realism; evidence; observables; confirmation measure; empirical equivalence; atom; catch-all; constructive empiricism

Chapter.  21363 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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