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Truth and Realism$
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Patrick Greenough and Michael P. Lynch

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.001.0001

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Scientific Realism

Scientific Realism

Chapter:
(p.100) 5 Scientific Realism
Source:
Truth and Realism
Author(s):
Michael Devitt
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.003.0006

This chapter begins by addressing the question: what is scientific realism? It then considers the most influential arguments for and against scientific realism. The arguments for are the ‘success argument’ and related explanationist arguments. The arguments against are the ‘underdetermination argument’, which starts from the claim that theories always have empirically equivalent rivals; and the ‘pessimistic meta-induction’, which starts from a bleak view of the accuracy of past scientific theories.

Keywords:   scientific realism, truth, success argument, underdetermination argument, pessimistic meta-induction

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