Category Archives: Philosophy of Science

Absence of Evidence, Evidence of Absence, and Fossils

In this post I’ll summarize Elliott Sober’s probabilistic reasoning on the topic of fossils evidence. Evolutionary biologists often take the observing of intermediate fossils to be evidence for common ancestry while the failing to observe an intermediate fossil isn’t evidence against—this … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Science | Leave a comment

Scientific Anti-Realism and Unobservables

Scientific realists generally think we should believe in the observable and unobservable entities posited by our best scientific theories. Anti-realists oppose realism in various ways. One motivation to be an antirealist comes from empiricist worries about unobservables. Past mistakes in … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Science | Leave a comment

Vulnerability in Scientific Theories without Popperian falsification

Popper held that falsifiability is what demarcates science from pseudoscience.  Pseudoscientific theories are compatible with all possible observation.  By contrast, scientific theories “stick their necks out”, where certain observations falsify the theory. There have been various criticisms of Popper’s falsification … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Science | 10 Comments

Elliott Sober’s Contrastive Empiricism

There has traditionally been a tension between empiricism and scientific realism.  Elliott Sober aims to combine important elements of the two in his Contrastive Empiricism.   In his paper “Contrastive Empiricism”, Sober defends a modest realism where “science properly aims to … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Science | 1 Comment

Logical Empiricist issues with theoretical terms

Consider the empiricist idea that knowledge is justified by sense experience.  We have basement terms for what we sense: colors, shapes, textures, smells, tastes, sounds, etc.  And we have terms for macro-objects such as tables and chairs that have these … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Science | Leave a comment