Year 2015, Volume 5 , Issue 1, Pages 31 - 46 2015-07-13

Two Tokens of the Inference to the Best Explanation: No-Miracle Argument and the Selectionist Explanation

Emre Arda ERDENK [1]

In this paper, I evaluate van Fraassen’s critique of the Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) by focusing mainly on his argument of bad lot. First, I argue that his attack is about the reliability of IBE as a rule of inference. Secondly, I evaluate the most famous realist IBE in the philosophy of science literature, namely the No-Miracle Argument (NMA). I stick to Mark Newman’s attack to realist NMA and admit his claim that NMA is viciously circular. Thirdly, I introduce the anti-realist alternative to the NMA, which is argued by van Fraassen, namely the Selectionist Explanation. Ultimately, I claim that, even though van Fraassen finds IBE wanting, SA has a form of IBE and thus it is a token of IBE as well.

Scientific realism, anti-realism, theoretical entities, observables, empirical adequacy.
  • Bird, A. (1998). Philosophy of Science. London: McGill-Queens University Press.
  • Boyd, R. (1984). The Current Status of the Realism Debate. Scientific Realism (ed. J. Leplin). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Boyd, R. (1996). Realism, Approximate Truth, and Method. The Philosophy of Science (ed. D. Papineau). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Erdenk (2014) Bilimin Başarısının Gerçekçi Açıklaması ve Onun Karşıt-Gerçekçi Alternatifi: “Seçilimci Açıklama” ve “Zayıf Sürrealism”. Günümüzü Felsefe ile Düşünmek (eds. B. Gülşen & E. Bozkurt & G. Sorkuç & U. Morkoç).İzmir: Ege Üniversitesi Yayınları, s. 85-98.
  • van Fraassen, B. C. (1980). The Scientific Image. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • van Fraassen, B. C. (1989). Laws and Symmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kukla, A. (1996). Antirealist Explanations of the Success of Science. Philosophy of Science, 63, 298-305.
  • Ladyman, J., Douven, I., Horsten, L., and van Fraassen, B. C. (1997). A Defence of Van Fraassen’s Critique of Abductive Inference: Reply to Psillos. The Philosophical Quarterly, 47/188, 305-312.
  • Laudan, L. (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science, 48, 19-49.
  • Leplin, J. (1997). A Novel Defence of Scientific Realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Lipton, P. (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. USA&Canada: Routledge.
  • Newman, M. (2010). The No-Miracles Argument, Reliabilism, and a Methodological Version of the Generality Problem. Synthese, 177, 111-138.
  • Okasha, S. (2000). Van Fraassen’s Critique of Inference to the Best Explanation. Studies in the History of Philosophy of Science, 31, 691-710.
  • Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and Refutations. London: RKP.
  • Psillos, S. (1996). On Van Fraassen’s Critique of Abductive Reasoning. The Philosophical Quarterly, 46/182, 31-47.
  • Psillos, S. (1999). Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth. New York: Routledge.
  • Putnam, H. (1978). Meaning and the Moral Sciences. London: RKP.
  • Putnam, H. (1979). Mathematics, Matter and Method: Philosophical Papers, Vol. 1, 2nd Ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Smart, J. J. C. (1963). Philosophy and Scientific Realism. London: RKP.
  • Wray, K. B. (2010). Selection and Predictive Success. Erkenntnis, 72, 365-377.
Primary Language en
Journal Section Articles

Author: Emre Arda ERDENK


Publication Date : July 13, 2015

APA ERDENK, E . (2015). Two Tokens of the Inference to the Best Explanation: No-Miracle Argument and the Selectionist Explanation. Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy , 5 (1) , 31-46 . DOI: 10.18491/bijop.59053