Area of Study
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper offers a defense of scientific realism against one central anti-realist argument, the pessimistic meta-induction (PMI). More specifically, this paper initially considers and rejects an oft-stated version of the PMI, arguing that the historical sample size is insufficient to make any serious induction, optimistic or pessimistic, about the likelihood of current scientific theories being abandoned. After demonstrating the deficiency of the initially considered PMI, the paper takes into account a possible amendment to the PMI which could circumvent such sample-size worries, but then concludes that even this amended version of the PMI does not offer sufficient warrant for abandoning scientific realism. Before diving headlong into these arguments against the PMI, it will be helpful to review the general realist and antirealist positions that stake out the terms of the debate.
Hill, Johnston T., "The Best Explanation: A Defense Scientific Realism" (2011). Summer Research. 125.
University of Puget Sound