How Deployment Realism withstands Doppelt's Criticisms

Mario Alai


Gerald Doppelt claims that Deployment Realism cannot withstand the antirealist objections based on the “pessimistic meta-induction” and Laudan’s historical counterexamples. Moreover it is incomplete, as it purports to explain the predictive success of theories, but overlooks the necessity to explain also their explanatory success. Accordingly, he proposes a new version of realism, presented as the best explanation of both predictive and explanatory success, and committed only to the truth of best current theories, not of the discarded ones (Doppelt (2007, 2011, 2013, 2014).
Elsewhere I criticized his new brand of realism. Here instead I argue that (a) Doppelt has not shown that Deployment Realism cannot solve the problems raised by the history of science, (b) explaining explanatory success does not add much to explaining novel predictive success, and (c) Doppelt is right that truth is not a sufficient explanans, but for different reasons, and this does not refute Deployment Realism, but helps to detail it better. In a more explicit formulation, the realist IBE concludes not only to the truth of theories, but also to the reliability of scientists and scientific method, the order and simplicity of nature, and the approximate truth of background theories.

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