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Anti-realism About Science

  • Kevin McCain
Chapter
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Part of the Springer Undergraduate Texts in Philosophy book series (SUTP)

Abstract

This chapter discusses one of the major debates in philosophy of science related to scientific knowledge, the debate between realists and anti-realists. Realists maintain that our best-confirmed scientific theories are true (or at least approximately true), but anti-realists think we should only accept that our best-confirmed scientific theories are useful in some sense without committing to their truth, approximate or otherwise. Some of the major arguments on both sides of this debate are evaluated in this chapter, though special attention is paid to the so-called “miracle argument” for scientific realism. Throughout the chapter a realist stance, which allows for genuine scientific knowledge, is defended. Ultimately, the chapter concludes that while anti-realist arguments are important and worth taking seriously, they do not pose an insurmountable threat to a realist conception of science. Such a conception holds that in the case of our best-confirmed theories the truth of those theories best explains their success, which gives us justification for believing that they are true.

Keywords

Good Explanation Scientific Theory Equivalent Theory Scientific Realism Empirical Success 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin McCain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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