Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 75-84

First online:

A Confutation of the Pessimistic Induction

  • Seungbae ParkAffiliated withDivision of General Studies, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology Email author 

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The pessimistic induction holds that successful past scientific theories are completely false, so successful current ones are completely false too. I object that past science did not perform as poorly as the pessimistic induction depicts. A close study of the history of science entitles us to construct an optimistic induction that would neutralize the pessimistic induction. Also, even if past theories were completely false, it does not even inductively follow that the current theories will also turn out to be completely false because the current theories are more successful and have better birth qualities than the past theories. Finally, the extra success and better birth qualities justify an anti-induction in favor of the present theories.


Current theory Integrations of scientific fields Past theory Pessimistic induction