Short Answer Questions (submit online)
- Explain the No Miracles Argument for Scientific Realism.
- Explain the Pessimistic Meta-Induction against Scientific Realism.
- What is structural realism in the context of the Scientific Realism debate?
For Further Discussion
- No Miracles. The No Miracles Argument is one of the most prominent argments for Scientific Realism.
- Do you find the basic intuition behind "No Miracles" to be a plausible one? Do you find the argument itself convincing?
- A similar argument can be made in favour of Preservative Realism, the claim that "the success-producing parts our best scientific descriptions are true, or at least approximately true." Construct that argument. Is it more plausible than the original one?
- Another similar argument can be made in favour of Structural Realism, the claim that "the structural aspects of our best scientific theories are true, or at least approximately true." Construct that argument. Is it more plausible than the original one?
- Underdetermination. In lecture, we saw an argument that every scientific theory is underdetermined.
- Construct that as a valid argument.
- How is this argument supposed to undermine realism?
- Can you think of a concrete example of underdetermination in the natural or social sciences?
- Do you think the argument from underdetermination succeeds in undermining realism?
- Pessimism. The Pessimistic Meta-Induction purports to show that the history of science best supports antirealism.
- Why is it called the pessimistic meta-induction?
- What is the "strong" form of the argument?
- Does the argument succeed?
- Realism vs. Antirealism. In the end, which of the two views fares better, realism or antirealism? Or, is there a reason to think that neither is correct?