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From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Anti-realism

Frost-Arnold, Greg (2010) From the Pessimistic Induction to Semantic Anti-realism. In: [2010] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 22nd Biennial Mtg (Montréal, QC) > PSA 2010 Contributed Papers.

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    Abstract

    The Pessimistic Induction (PI) is the following argument: most of our past scientific theories have been radically mistaken; therefore, our current theories are probably similarly mistaken. But mistaken in what way? On the usual interpretation of the PI, our past theories are false -- and therefore, our present ones are probably also false. I argue instead that, on widely-held semantic views about reference, presupposition, and ‘open texture’ concepts, many theoretical claims of previous scientific theories are neither true nor false. And if substantial chunks of our past theories lack truth-values, then the upshot of the PI is semantic anti-realism. But most philosophers of science today consider semantic anti-realism unacceptable. So PI proponents face an unpalatable choice: accept either semantic anti-realism, or a substantial, unorthodox semantic position.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: realism, anti-realism, pessimistic induction
    Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Conferences and Volumes: [2010] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 22nd Biennial Mtg (Montréal, QC) > PSA 2010 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Greg Frost-Arnold
    Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2010 12:48
    Last Modified: 04 Nov 2010 12:48
    Item ID: 8377
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8377

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