Scientifically Defending Realism I: Psillos’ Holistic Approach



In this chapter, I critically assess the two so-called no-miracle arguments which Psillos proposes in support of scientific realism (I call them NMA and Meta-NMA). After pointing out that leveling the charge of vicious circularity against any of the two arguments comes at an unaffordably high price, I urge that the conclusion of Meta-NMA is false. Concerning NMA, I detail that it faces a formidable objection, the so-called pessimistic meta-induction, and I discuss Psillos’ response to this objection. Finally, I show that the conclusion of the second IBE of NMA—scientific realism with regard to a given scientific theory—falls clearly short of the standards for scientific theories that Psillos himself erects in the course of his response to the pessimistic meta-induction. I argue that this is a general problem of such holistic approaches, and I further corroborate this result by applying it on the arguments for scientific realism developed by Howard Sankey.


No-miracle arguments Psillos Meta-NMA Scientific realism Sankey Naturalism 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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