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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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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 12:35
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2012 12:35
Item ID: 9172
Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 18 June 2012

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