Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 59–68 | Cite as

Historical Inductions, Unconceived Alternatives, and Unconceived Objections



In this paper, I outline a reductio against Stanford’s “New Induction” on the History of Science, which is an inductive argument against scientific realism that is based on what Stanford (2006) calls “the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives”. From the supposition that Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science is cogent, and the parallel New Induction on the History of Philosophy, it follows that scientific antirealism is not worthy of belief. I also show that denying a key premise in the reductio only forces antirealists who endorse Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science into a dilemma: either antirealism falls under the axe of Stanford’s New Induction on the History of Science or it falls under the axe of the New Induction on the History of Philosophy.


Antirealism New induction Pessimistic induction Problem of unconceived alternatives Problem of unconceived objections Scientific realism 



I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers of Journal for General Philosophy of Science for helpful comments on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentSt. John’s UniversityQueensUSA

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