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A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism - Jarrett Leplin

A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism

Hardcover

Published: 1st July 1997
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Vigorous and controversial, this book develops a sustained argument for a realist interpretation of science, based on a new analysis of the concept of predictive novelty. Identifying a form of success achieved in science--the successful prediction of novel empirical results--which can be explained only by attributing some measure of truth to the theories that yield it, Jarrett Leplin demonstrates the incapacity of nonrealist accounts to accommodate novel success and constructs a deft realist explanation of novelty. To test the applicability of novel success as a standard of warrant for theories, Leplin examines current directions in theoretical physics, fashioning a powerful critique of currently developing standards of evaluation.
Arguing that explanatory uniqueness warrants inference, and exposing flaws in contending philosophical positions that sever explanatory power from epistemic justification, Leplin holds that abductive, or explanatory, inference is as fundamental as enumerative or eliminative inference, and contends that neither induction nor abduction can proceed without the other on pain of generating paradoxes.
Leplin's conception of novelty has two basic components: an independence condition, ensuring that a result novel for a theory have no essential role, even indirectly, in the theory's provenance; and a uniqueness condition, ensuring that no competing theory provides a basis for predicting the same result. Showing that alternative approaches to novelty fall short in both respects, Leplin proceeds to a series of test cases, engaging prominent scientific theories from nineteenth-century accounts of light to modern cosmology in an effort to demonstrate the epistemological superiority of his view.
Ambitious and tightly argued, A Novel Defense of Scientific Realism advances new positions on major topics in philosophy of science and offers a version of realism as original as it is compelling, making it essential reading for philosophers of science, epistemologists, and scholars in science studies.

"...an original and important contribution to the debate. It is a valuable attempt to give rigorous content to the notion of novel prediction, which is often informally cited as a reason for belief in scientific theories."--TLS "The beauty of this book...lies in the slender basis from which it deals with a host of deep and interesting problems....it deftly handles a large array of issues...Jarrett Leplin is admirably forthright."--The Journal of Philosophy "...an original and important contribution to the debate. It is a valuable attempt to give rigorous content to the notion of novel prediction, which is often informally cited as a reason for belief in scientific theories."--TLS "The beauty of this book...lies in the slender basis from which it deals with a host of deep and interesting problems....it deftly handles a large array of issues...Jarrett Leplin is admirably forthright."--The Journal of Philosophy

Introductionp. xi
Truth and the Success of Sciencep. 3
Explaining Scientific Successp. 3
Simplistic Accounts of Successp. 6
Dismissive Attitudes toward Explanationp. 9
Underdeterminationp. 12
The Alleged Superfluousness of Truth in Explanationp. 15
Excising Truth from Explanationp. 21
Surrogates for Truthp. 28
The Metaphysical Import of Truthp. 29
Conceptions of Noveltyp. 34
The History of the Independence Requirementp. 34
Temporal Constraintsp. 40
Bayesian Confirmationp. 44
Contemporary Analyses of Independencep. 49
Constraints on the Analysis of Noveltyp. 63
An Analysis of Noveltyp. 64
Overview and Motivationp. 64
Assumptions and Terminologyp. 65
Conditions for Noveltyp. 77
Applicationsp. 83
Fresnel's Theory of Diffractionp. 83
Special Relativityp. 86
The Expansion of the Universep. 93
The Big Bangp. 94
Realism and Noveltyp. 98
The Burden of Argumentp. 98
Minimal Epistemic Realismp. 102
The Explanatory Poverty of Instrumentalismp. 104
In Defense of Abductionp. 116
Novel Prediction versus Retroactive Explanationp. 120
Partial Truth and Successp. 127
The Pragmatics of Partial Truthp. 131
Counterargumentsp. 136
Overviewp. 136
The Skeptical Historical Inductionp. 141
Empirical Equivalence and Underdeterminationp. 152
Is There Truth in Virtue?p. 164
NOA's Bark Is as Terse as It's Tritep. 173
The Future of Realismp. 178
Limits to Testability in Fundamental Physicsp. 178
Methodological Practicep. 182
Warranting Methodological Changep. 186
A Measured Retreatp. 188
Bibliographyp. 191
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195113631
ISBN-10: 0195113632
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st July 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.16 x 16.26  x 2.34
Weight (kg): 0.52