Historical Inductions: New Cherries, Same Old Cherry-Picking

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Mizrahi, Moti
preprint description
In this paper, I argue that arguments from the history of science against scientific realism, like the arguments advanced by Kyle Stanford and Peter Vickers, are fallacious. The so-called “Old Induction,” like Vickers’, and the so-called “New Induction,” like Stanford’s, are both guilty of confirmation bias, specifically, of cherry-picking evidence that allegedly challenges scientific realism, while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I also show that the historical episodes Stanford adduces in support of his New Induction are indeterminate between a pessimistic interpretation and an optimistic interpretation. For these reasons, these arguments are fallacious, and thus do not pose a serious challenge to scientific realism.