5/27/2008

Scientific Realism via the internets

I recently found out that Philosophy of Science has conditionally accepted an article I wrote on the no-miracles argument. This is a stroke of good luck, and it's also a testament to the philosophical blogosphere: basic ideas in this paper were hashed out on this blog (see especially here), and honed by readers' astute criticism. Perhaps the paper wouldn't have been good enough for acceptance otherwise.

I would greatly appreciate further help on the paper before I send away the final version; the current draft (in rich text format) is here. Here's an abbreviated abstract:
1. Scientists (usually) do not accept explanations that explain only one type of already accepted fact.
2. Scientific realism (as it appears in the no-miracles argument, or NMA) explains only one type of already accepted fact.
3. Psillos, Boyd, and other proponents of the NMA explicitly adopt a naturalism that forbids philosophy of science from using any methods not employed by science itself.
Therefore, such naturalistic philosophers of science should not accept the version of scientific realism that appears in the NMA.
And as long as I am singing the praises of the blogosphere and begging for readers, P.D. Magnus (of the excellent Footnotes on Epicycles blog) and I have a draft of a paper on another aspect of the scientific realism debate (in pdf format) here. We ask, and give a partial answer to, the question: When should two empirically equivalent theories be regarded as variants of one and the same theory? Comments large and small are appreciated!

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