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Scientific Realism and Dark Matter: Conflicts In Theory Confirmation

Allzén, Simon (2021) Scientific Realism and Dark Matter: Conflicts In Theory Confirmation. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Scientific realism is in part characterized by its epistemic commitment to unobservables posited in science. To support such epistemic commitments, some realists have argued that explanatory or theoretical virtues that operates in tandem with inference to the best explanation can constitute theory confirmation. I argue that there is a tension in the realist epistemology between the idea that such virtues constitute theory confirmation and the idea that empirical discovery or detection of scientific objects constitute significant theory confirmation. In particular, I argue that the application of the realist framework in certain scientific contexts yields a realist judgment towards undiscovered objects. Given such a judgement, the potential empirical discovery or detection of such objects would provide no additional epistemic warrant. The resulting picture is that the realist epistemology suggests that science in principle does not need to detect or discover its hypothesized objects in order to conclusively confirm their existence. In order to avoid this situation, I argue that realists should incorporate degrees of belief and a program of meta-empirical confirmation theory into their overall framework.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Allzén, Simonsimon.allzen@philosophy.su.se0000-0002-6124-8152
Keywords: Scientific realism, Theory Confirmation, Dark Matter, Inference to the Best Explanation, Theoretical Virtues, Non-Empirical Theory Confirmation
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Mr Simon Allzén
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 14:37
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 14:37
Item ID: 18626
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 20 January 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18626

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