### PRESERVATION OF EMPIRICAL SUCCESS AND INTERTHEORETICAL CORRESPONDENCE: JUSTIFYING REALISM WITHOUT THE NO MIRACLES ARGUMENT

#### Abstract

“Assume a theory T has been strongly empirically successful in a domain of applications A, but was superseded later on by a superior theory T* which was likewise successful in A, but has an arbitrarily different theoretical superstructure. Then under certain (natural) conditions, T contains theoretical expression(s) e which ‘yielded’ T’s empirical success, such that these Texpressions correspond (in A) to certain theoretical expression(s) e* of T*, in the form of a conditional equivalence “if A, then (e iff e*)” which is entailed by the union of T* with a T*-consistent part of T.” The theorem depends on a crucial condition concerning the predecessor theory T which requires that T contains a theoretical expression e which figures as a common cause for several empirical regularities by which it can be indicated or measured in the form of bilateral ‘reduction’ sentences. I illustrate my correspondence theorem by several historical examples, such as the phlogiston-oxygen example. In the second part of my talk I focus on the semantic and ontological interpretation of the correspondence theorem. It does not entail a reduction of the meaning. However, it entails the reduction of the (strong) empirical success of the theoretical term e within T to the empirical success of the theoretical term e* within T*. In other words, the T-T*-correspondence explains why theory T was empirically successful in spite of the fact that the ontology of T’s theoretical part was false, from the viewpoint of the presently accepted theory T*. In the final part I explain how the correspondence theorem justifies a weak version of scientific realism without presupposing the reliability of the no-miracle argument.

#### Keywords

20th century philosophy; epistemology; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; correspondence theorem; minimal realism; no miracles argument; pessimistic meta induction; phlogiston theory; reference shift; strong empirical success

#### Full Text:

PDF### Refbacks

- There are currently no refbacks.