In an earlier article on Axiomathes 2019 I argued that the problem of empirical under-determination can for the largest part be solved by theoretical virtues, and for the remaining part it can be tolerated. Here I confront two further challenges to scientific realism based on underdetermination. First, there are four classes of theories which may seem to be underdetermined even by theoretical virtues. Concerning them I argue that (i) theories produced by trivial permutations and (ii) “equivalent descrip-tions” are compatible with the truth of standard theories; instead (iii) “as if” versions of standard theories are much worse from the point of view of theoretical virtues; finally (iv) mathematically intertranslatable theories either may become empirically decidable in the future, or can be discriminated by theoretical virtues, or realists may simply plead ignorance about their claims. Secondly, I consider Stanford’s underde-termination with respect unconceived alternatives, arguing that it essentially relies on the pessimistic meta-induction from the falsity of all past theories. Therefore, it can be resisted by (a) considering the radical advancement of present with respect to past science, and (b) arguing with selective realism that past successful theories, even if false, always included some true components

Scientific Realism and Further Underdetermination Challenges

Alai, Mario
2021-01-01

Abstract

In an earlier article on Axiomathes 2019 I argued that the problem of empirical under-determination can for the largest part be solved by theoretical virtues, and for the remaining part it can be tolerated. Here I confront two further challenges to scientific realism based on underdetermination. First, there are four classes of theories which may seem to be underdetermined even by theoretical virtues. Concerning them I argue that (i) theories produced by trivial permutations and (ii) “equivalent descrip-tions” are compatible with the truth of standard theories; instead (iii) “as if” versions of standard theories are much worse from the point of view of theoretical virtues; finally (iv) mathematically intertranslatable theories either may become empirically decidable in the future, or can be discriminated by theoretical virtues, or realists may simply plead ignorance about their claims. Secondly, I consider Stanford’s underde-termination with respect unconceived alternatives, arguing that it essentially relies on the pessimistic meta-induction from the falsity of all past theories. Therefore, it can be resisted by (a) considering the radical advancement of present with respect to past science, and (b) arguing with selective realism that past successful theories, even if false, always included some true components
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2683980
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact