Journal Article

Defensible Territory for Entity Realism

Steve Clarke

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 52, issue 4, pages 701-722
Published in print December 2001 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2001 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/52.4.701
Defensible Territory for Entity Realism

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In the face of argument to the contrary, it is shown that there is defensible middle ground available for entity realism, between the extremes of scientific realism and empiricist antirealism. Cartwright's ([1983]) earlier argument for defensible middle ground between these extremes, which depended crucially on the viability of an underdeveloped distinction between inference to the best explanation (IBE) and inference to the most probable cause (IPC), is examined and its defects are identified. The relationship between IBE and IPC is clarified and a revised version of Cartwright's argument for defensible middle ground, which is free of the identified defects, is presented.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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