Reaching out toward Exceeding Our Grasp

Thu 10 Jan 2008 04:56 PM

In a previous paper about Kyle Stanford's New Induction, I interpreted it as a wholesale argument and argued that it fails. I had occasion to rethink this while teaching his book, Exceeding Our Grasp, in a seminar last Fall. I now think that it can succeed as a retail argument. I have posted a draft of a new paper in which I defend this retail version of the New Induction.


Kyle Stanford has recently claimed to offer a new challenge to scientific realism. Taking his inspiration from the familiar Pessimistic Induction (PI), Stanford proposes a New Induction (NI). Contra the suggestion that the NI is a "red herring", I argue that it reveals something deep and important about science. The Problem of Unconceived Alternatives, which lies at the heart of the NI, yields a richer anti-realism than the PI. It explains why science falls short when it falls short, and so it might figure in the most coherent account of scientific practice. However, this best account will be antirealist in some respects and about some theories, but it will not be a sweeping antirealism about all or most of science.