Philosophy Talk - “Two Graveyards: A Reply to Stanford and Mizrahi”

Presented by Katie Bridget Wright ’16 Abstract: Stanford’s New Induction is widely regarded as both a serious and a novel threat to some of the most basic commitments of scientific realists. Following the Pessimistic Induction of his predecessors, Stanford sketches a New Induction, which turns attention from theories to theorists. Stanford’s New Induction thus poses an epistemic problem to scientific realists—and a difficult problem, at that. I will first lay out Stanford’s New Induction and demonstrate the stubbornness of the problem that it poses to scientific realists. Next, I will discuss an elegant response offered by Moti Mizrahi (2016). I will offer reasons to take Mizrahi’s challenge seriously. Finally, I will defend the Stanfordite from Mizrahi’s challenge by offering reason to reject the most crucial premise of the Mizrahi argument. I will conclude, however, with some reasons to endorse the spirit of the Mizrahi argument, despite some problems with the argument itself.