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The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far

Mizrahi, Moti (2012) The Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    In this paper, I consider the pessimistic induction construed as a deductive argument (specifically, reductio ad absurdum) and as an inductive argument (specifically, inductive generalization). I argue that both formulations of the pessimistic induction are fallacious. I also consider another possible interpretation of the pessimistic induction, namely, as pointing to counterexamples to the scientific realist’s thesis that success is a reliable mark of (approximate) truth. I argue that this interpretation of the pessimistic induction fails, too. If this is correct, then the pessimistic induction is an utter failure that should be abandoned by scientific anti-realists.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: anti-realism; inductive generalization; pessimistic induction; scientific realism
    Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Depositing User: Dr. Moti Mizrahi
    Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 08:35
    Last Modified: 20 Jun 2012 08:35
    Item ID: 9172
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9172

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