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Towards a realistic success-to-truth inference for scientific realism

Vickers, P.

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A success-to-truth inference has always been at the heart of scientific realist positions. But all attempts to articulate the inference have met with very significant challenges. This paper reconstructs the evolution of this inference, and brings together a number of qualifications in an attempt to articulate a contemporary (‘local’) success-to-truth inference which is realistic. I argue that this contemporary version of the inference has a chance, at least, of overcoming the historical challenges which have been proffered to date (and without moving all the way to structural realism). However, there is a price to pay: the developments which help the realist answer the historical challenges also serve to increase the number of non-historical challenges.


Vickers, P. (2019). Towards a realistic success-to-truth inference for scientific realism. Synthese, 196(2), 571-585.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 8, 2016
Publication Date Feb 28, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2016
Journal Synthese
Print ISSN 0039-7857
Electronic ISSN 1573-0964
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 196
Issue 2
Pages 571-585
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (320 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author(s) 2016 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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