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Gerald Doppelt
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conference paper description
I examine Carrier’s and Ladyman’s structural realist (‘SR’) explanation of the predictive success of phlogiston chemistry. On their account, it succeeds because phlogiston chemists grasped that there is some common unobservable structure of relations underlying combustion, calcification, and respiration. I argue that this SR account depends on assuming the truth of current chemical theory of oxidation and reduction, which provides a better explanation of the success of phlogiston theory than SR provides. I defend an alternative version of inference-to-the-best-explanation scientific realism which I call ‘Best Current Theory Realism’ (BCTR) and argue that it can answer the pessimistic meta-induction.

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