J Ladyman, Review. A novel defense of scientific realism. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account?

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This item is printed to order. Items which are printed to order are normally despatched and charged within days. Vigorous and controversial, this book develops a sustained argument for a realist interpretation of science, based on a new analysis of the concept of predictive novelty.

Identifying a form of success achieved in science—the successful prediction of novel empirical results—which can be explained only by attributing some measure of truth to the theories that yield it, Jarrett Leplin demonstrates the incapacity of nonrealist accounts to accommodate novel success and constructs a deft realist explanation of novelty.

To test the applicability of novel success as a standard of warrant for theories, Leplin examines current directions in theoretical physics, fashioning a powerful critique of currently developing standards of evaluation. Arguing that explanatory uniqueness warrants inference, and exposing flaws in contending philosophical positions that sever explanatory power from epistemic justification, Leplin holds that abductive, or explanatory, inference is as fundamental as enumerative or eliminative inference, and contends that neither induction nor abduction can proceed without the other on pain of generating paradoxes.

Leplin's conception of novelty has two basic components: an independence condition , ensuring that a result novel for a theory have no essential role, even indirectly, in the theory's provenance; and a uniqueness condition , ensuring that no competing theory provides a basis for predicting the same result. Showing that alternative approaches to novelty fall short in both respects, Leplin proceeds to a series of test cases, engaging prominent scientific theories from nineteenth-century accounts of light to modern cosmology in an effort to demonstrate the epistemological superiority of his view.

Ambitious and tightly argued, A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism advances new positions on major topics in philosophy of science and offers a version of realism as original as it is compelling, making it essential reading for philosophers of science, epistemologists, and scholars in science studies.

It is a valuable attempt to give rigorous content to the notion of novel prediction, which is often informally cited as a reason for belief in scientific theories. The beauty of this book Jarrett Leplin is admirably forthright. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

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Published: 20 November Pages 1 line illus. To purchase, visit your preferred ebook provider. Also of Interest. Making Sense of the World Stephen R.

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A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism

Debates about scientific realism are closely connected to almost everything else in the philosophy of science, for they concern the very nature of scientific knowledge. Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude toward the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences. This epistemic attitude has important metaphysical and semantic dimensions, and these various commitments are contested by a number of rival epistemologies of science, known collectively as forms of scientific antirealism. This article explains what scientific realism is, outlines its main variants, considers the most common arguments for and against the position, and contrasts it with its most important antirealist counterparts. It is perhaps only a slight exaggeration to say that scientific realism is characterized differently by every author who discusses it, and this presents a challenge to anyone hoping to learn what it is. Fortunately, underlying the many idiosyncratic qualifications and variants of the position, there is a common core of ideas, typified by an epistemically positive attitude toward the outputs of scientific investigation, regarding both observable and unobservable aspects of the world. The distinction here between the observable and the unobservable reflects human sensory capabilities: the observable is that which can, under favorable conditions, be perceived using the unaided senses for example, planets and platypuses ; the unobservable is that which cannot be detected this way for example, proteins and protons.


Scientific Realism

Relativism and Realism in Science pp Cite as. Realism and relativism stand opposed. This much is apparent if we consider no more than the realist aim for science. And this seems immediately to presuppose that at least some forms of relativism are mistaken. If realism is correct, then relativism or some versions of it is incorrect. Unable to display preview.


The Ultimate Argument for Scientific Realism


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