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Antirealist Explanations of the Success of Science
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 63, Supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part I: Contributed Papers (Sep., 1996), pp. S298-S305
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188539
Page Count: 8
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Scientific realists have argued that the truth(likeness) of our theories provides the only explanation for the success of science. I consider alternative explanations proposed by antirealists. I endorse Leplin's contention that neither van Fraassen's Darwinist explanation nor Laudan's methodological explanation provides the sort of explanatory alternative which is called for in this debate. Fine's suggestion--that the empirical adequacy of our theories already explains their success--is more promising for antirealists. Leplin claims that this putative explanation collapses into realism on one reading and into vacuity on another reading. But his analysis conflates three doctrines into two, and one of the three avoids both realism and vacuity.
Philosophy of Science © 1996 The University of Chicago Press