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Critical Scientific Realism$
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Ilkka Niiniluoto

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251614.001.0001

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Realism in Methodology

Realism in Methodology

(p.160) 6 Realism in Methodology
Critical Scientific Realism

Ilkka Niiniluoto (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Methodological realism accepts the axiological view that truth is one of the essential aims of science. Following Popper and Levi, truthlikeness as the aim of science, combines the goals of truth and information. This chapter discusses the relations between truthlikeness and other epistemic utilities like explanatory power (Hempel), problem‐solving capacity (Laudan), and simplicity (Reichenbach). While rationality in science can be defined relative to the goals accepted within scientific communities at different times, a critical realist defines scientific progress in terms of increasing truthlikeness. It is argued that progress in this sense can be assessed, relative to empirical evidence, by the notion of expected verisimilitude. An abductive argument is formulated to defend realism as the best (and even the only) explanation of the empirical and practical success of science.

Keywords:   abduction, axiology, epistemic utility, explanatory power, Hempel, Laudan, Levi, methodological realism, Popper, problem‐solving, progress, rationality, Reichenbach, simplicity, verisimilitude

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