, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 641-646
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Thinking about Achinstein’s philosophy of science

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The nineteen papers in this collection provide sophisticated critical analysis of Achinstein’s work, rather than being merely essays on related issues that are dedicated to him. This is a significant plus for those who wish to learn the intricate details of Achinstein’s thought. The papers focus on Achinstein’s theories of evidence, scientific realism, induction, and explanation. I only have space here to touch on the primary criticisms to, and Achinstein’s replies regarding, evidence and realism. The papers I will not discuss by Cat, Di Fate, Goldstein, Kronz, Laudan, Morgan, Norton, Richards, Ruse, and Woodward, are also of very high quality and deserve considerable attention.

Evidence

Achinstein has developed four different concepts of evidence, but argues that scientists are interested only in what he calls “veridical evidence” where the following conditions on evidence e, hypothesis h, and background information b are met:

  1. p (there is an explanatory connection between h and e/e and ...