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Hacking's Experimental Realism: An Untenable Middle Ground
Richard Reiner and Robert Pierson
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 62, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 60-69
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188035
Page Count: 10
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Philosophical realism, Scientific realism, Philosophy of science, Electrons, Unobservables, Argumentation, Antirealism, Microscopes, Legal entities, Kidnapping
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As Laudan and Fine show, and Boyd concedes, the attempt to infer the truth of scientific realism from the fact that it putatively provides the best explanation of the instrumental success of science is circular, since what is to be shown is precisely the legitimacy of such abductive inferences. Hacking's "experimental argument for scientific realism about entities" is one of the few arguments for scientific realism that purports to avoid this circularity. We argue that Hacking's argument is as dependent on inference to the best explanation (IBE), and therefore as weak, as the other realist arguments.
Philosophy of Science © 1995 The University of Chicago Press