In this book K. Brad Wray provides a comprehensive survey of the arguments against scientific realism. In addition to presenting logical considerations that undermine the realists' inferences to the likely truth or approximate truth of our theories, he provides a thorough assessment of the evidence from the history of science. He also examines grounds for a defence of anti-realism, including an anti-realist explanation for the success of our current theories, an account of why false theories can be empirically successful, and an explanation for why we should expect radical changes of theory in the future. His arguments are supported and illustrated by cases from the history of science, including a sustained study of the Copernican Revolution, and a study of the revolution in early twentieth century chemistry, when chemists came to classify elements by their atomic number rather than by their atomic weight.Read more
- Includes a thorough examination of the historical evidence and logical considerations that threaten scientific realism
- Presents a compelling defense of anti-realism
- Provides a sustained study of the Copernican Revolution in astronomy to illustrate some of the key issues in the realism/anti-realism debate, and a study of a hitherto unnoticed revolution in early twentieth-century chemistry
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- Publication planned for: December 2018
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781108415217
- dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
- availability: Not yet published - available from December 2018
Table of Contents
Part I. Against Realism:
1. The Copernican Revolution in astronomy
2. The underdetermination of theory choice by evidence
3. The argument from underconsideration
4. Epistemic privilege: another realist dogma
5. Four pessimistic inductions
6. Pessimism, optimism, and the exponential growth of science
7. The nature of radical theory change
8. Do the theoretical values really support scientific realism?
Part II. Strengthening Anti-Realism:
9. But can the anti-realist explain the success of science?
10. Selection and predictive success
11. How are false theories able to make true predictions?
12. Discarded theories: the role of changing interests
13. A synthesis.
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