Tolstoy’s argument: realism and the history of science

Stathis Psillos


In his intervention to the ‘bankruptcy of science debate’, which raged in Paris in the turn of the twentieth century, Leo Tolstoy was one of the first to use the past record of science as a weapon against current science. It is not inductive. It does not conclude that all current scientific theories will be abandoned; nor that most of them will be abandoned; not even that it is more likely than not that all or most of them will be abandoned. Its conclusion is modest: some of presently accepted theories will have the fate of those past theories that once dominated the scene but subsequently were abandoned.

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