Journal Article

Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science

P.D. Magnus

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 4, pages 803-819
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axq004
Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science

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Kyle Stanford has recently claimed to offer a new challenge to scientific realism. Taking his inspiration from the familiar Pessimistic Induction (PI), Stanford proposes a New Induction (NI). Contra Anjan Chakravartty’s suggestion that the NI is a ‘red herring’, I argue that it reveals something deep and important about science. The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, which lies at the heart of the NI, yields a richer anti-realism than the PI. It explains why science falls short when it falls short, and so it might figure in the most coherent account of scientific practice. However, this best account will be antirealist in some respects and about some theories. It will not be a sweeping antirealism about all or most of science.

1 Introduction

2 The Pessimistic Induction

3 Stanford’s New Induction

4 Reaching and Overreaching

6 The Red Herring Objection

5.1 The NI is more robust than the PI

5.2 The NI is more fundamental

6. Explanationist Antirealism

Journal Article.  7129 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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