A Methodological Argument Against Scientific Realism

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

First, I identify a methodological thesis associated with scientific realism. This has different variants, but each concerns the reliability of scientific methods in connection with acquiring, or approaching, truth or approximate truth. Second, I show how this thesis bears on what scientists should do when considering new theories that significantly contradict older theories. Third, I explore how vulnerable scientific realism is to a reductio ad absurdum as a result. Finally, I consider which variants of the methodological thesis are the most defensible in light of the earlier findings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSynthese
Early online date8 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jun 2019

Fingerprint

realism
Scientific Realism
Reductio Ad Absurdum
Approximate Truth
Scientific Method

Bibliographical note

This paper is based on talks given at Cambridge University’s Philosophy of Science Seminar and Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study. I am grateful to various audience members for comments, and particularly Robin Hendry, Milena Ivanova, Brian Pitts, and Jacob Stegenga. I am greatly indebted to Simon Goldstein and Jiji Zhang for insightful comments on drafts of the paper.

Keywords

  • Confirmation
  • Historical evidence
  • Scientific method
  • Scientific realism
  • Theory change

Cite this

@article{0966962d470b4094baeb283bcb1eedb4,
title = "A Methodological Argument Against Scientific Realism",
abstract = "First, I identify a methodological thesis associated with scientific realism. This has different variants, but each concerns the reliability of scientific methods in connection with acquiring, or approaching, truth or approximate truth. Second, I show how this thesis bears on what scientists should do when considering new theories that significantly contradict older theories. Third, I explore how vulnerable scientific realism is to a reductio ad absurdum as a result. Finally, I consider which variants of the methodological thesis are the most defensible in light of the earlier findings.",
keywords = "Confirmation, Historical evidence, Scientific method, Scientific realism, Theory change",
author = "ROWBOTTOM, {Darrell Patrick}",
note = "This paper is based on talks given at Cambridge University’s Philosophy of Science Seminar and Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study. I am grateful to various audience members for comments, and particularly Robin Hendry, Milena Ivanova, Brian Pitts, and Jacob Stegenga. I am greatly indebted to Simon Goldstein and Jiji Zhang for insightful comments on drafts of the paper.",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "8",
doi = "10.1007/s11229-019-02197-7",
language = "English",
journal = "Synthese",
issn = "0039-7857",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

A Methodological Argument Against Scientific Realism. / ROWBOTTOM, Darrell Patrick.

In: Synthese, 08.06.2019.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

TY - JOUR

T1 - A Methodological Argument Against Scientific Realism

AU - ROWBOTTOM, Darrell Patrick

N1 - This paper is based on talks given at Cambridge University’s Philosophy of Science Seminar and Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study. I am grateful to various audience members for comments, and particularly Robin Hendry, Milena Ivanova, Brian Pitts, and Jacob Stegenga. I am greatly indebted to Simon Goldstein and Jiji Zhang for insightful comments on drafts of the paper.

PY - 2019/6/8

Y1 - 2019/6/8

N2 - First, I identify a methodological thesis associated with scientific realism. This has different variants, but each concerns the reliability of scientific methods in connection with acquiring, or approaching, truth or approximate truth. Second, I show how this thesis bears on what scientists should do when considering new theories that significantly contradict older theories. Third, I explore how vulnerable scientific realism is to a reductio ad absurdum as a result. Finally, I consider which variants of the methodological thesis are the most defensible in light of the earlier findings.

AB - First, I identify a methodological thesis associated with scientific realism. This has different variants, but each concerns the reliability of scientific methods in connection with acquiring, or approaching, truth or approximate truth. Second, I show how this thesis bears on what scientists should do when considering new theories that significantly contradict older theories. Third, I explore how vulnerable scientific realism is to a reductio ad absurdum as a result. Finally, I consider which variants of the methodological thesis are the most defensible in light of the earlier findings.

KW - Confirmation

KW - Historical evidence

KW - Scientific method

KW - Scientific realism

KW - Theory change

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85067229868&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11229-019-02197-7

DO - 10.1007/s11229-019-02197-7

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

JO - Synthese

JF - Synthese

SN - 0039-7857

ER -