Realism vs Anti-realism. Topics. The Problem of Unobservability The “No Miracles” Argument The Observable / Unobservable Distinction The Underdetermination Argument for Antirealism. ~ 10 -35 m. Very tiny tiny . . . tiny superstrings!. The Problem of Unobservability.
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attain to the true causes, such hypotheses as, being assumed, enable the motions to be calculated correctly from the principles of geometry, for the future as well as the past. The present author [Copernicus] has performed both these duties excellently. For the hypotheses need not be true nor even probable; if they provide a calculus consistent with observation that alone is sufficient.”
in it if there’s a non-miraculous explanation?The “No Miracles” Argument
One historical reason for accepting the atomic thesis in the early 20th century:
blackbody radiation, and so on.
P2: The ability of a hypothesis to explain something betterthan all its rivals is a mark of its truth.
C: Hence, A is true.
Counterexample from the history of optics – drastic changes of the conception of light:
Light as beams of material corpuscles
Light as transverse wave in an all-pervasive elastic medium - ether
Light as fluctuating electric and magnetic fields-in-themselves without medium
Light as quanta, the photons
These theories were empirically successful and had made progress, but did they move closer and closer to the truth?
Also, it seems difficult to regard, say, Fresnel's theory as approximately true, since ether - a basic entity in the theory - is now believed not to exist.
Would you think that this picture gives
you an approximately true depiction
of the environment if in fact there was
no fog there?