What is Wrong with the Pessimistic Induction? Truth and Certainty in the Realism versus Antirealism Debate


This paper presents an analysis of the debate between realists and anti-realists taking as specific object of study the pessimistic induction and the no-miracles argument. The hypothesis of the paper is that the apparent lack of consensus between realists and anti-realists in addressing the problem of the veracity of our scientific theories is to some extent related to the use of different conceptual frameworks on the truth. Specifically, I will argue that Laudan’s pessimistic induction is a skeptical argument built on a certainty–based concept of truth which is inoperative for understanding the scientific practice. The paper is structured as follows: first, the pessimistic induction and the no-miracles argument are characterized, then the most significant criticisms of both arguments and the replies will be presented and, finally, the validity of the concept of truth underlying those arguments will be briefly analyzed and evaluated.
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Urueña López, S. (2018). What is Wrong with the Pessimistic Induction? Truth and Certainty in the Realism versus Antirealism Debate. ArtefaCToS. Revista De Estudios Sobre La Ciencia Y La tecnología, 7(2), 83–105. https://doi.org/10.14201/art20187283105


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Author Biography

Sergio Urueña López

Universidad del País Vasco UPV/EHU
Departamento de Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia.Personal Investigador en Formación (FPI-MINECO/FEDE).