Explaining the Success of a Scientific Theory

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Lyons, Timothy D.
preprint description
Scientific realists have claimed that the posit that our theories are (approximately) true provides the best or the only explanation for their success . In response, I revive two non-realists explanations. I show that realists, in discarding them, have either misconstrued the phenomena to be explained or mischaracterized the relationship between these explanations and their own. I contend nonetheless that these non-realist competitors, as well as their realist counterparts, should be rejected; for none of them succeed in explaining a significant list of successes. I propose a related non-realist explanation of success that appears to be the most suitable among those considered.