Pyrrhic Victories for Scientific Realism
This chapter examines the most influential recent efforts by scientific realists to blunt or block the pessimistic induction by engaging the details of the history of science itself, including the first serious efforts to recruit those details to the realist cause. It argues that the most promising and influential realist replies to the historical challenge (including those of Clyde Hardin and Alexander Rosenberg, Philip Kitcher, Stathis Psillos, Jarrett Leplin, and John Worrall) ultimately manage to achieve only Pyrrhic victories for realism, that is, “defences” of scientific realism that are forced to concede to the realist's opponent either just the substantive points that were in dispute between them or everything he/she needs for a convincing historical case against realism itself. Both the problem of unconceived alternatives and the pessimistic induction itself survive even the best recent efforts to defend realism from the specter of the historical record.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.