Saturday, February 7, 2009
Scientific Realism and Epistemic Justification
As far as I can see, much of the recent scientific realism debate revolves around the question of whether or not we are epistemically justified in believing our best scientific theories (or parts thereof) to be (approximately) true. In light of this, I've always found quite surprising that philosophers of science seem to be by and large uninterensted in the debates among epistemologists concerning epistemic justification. Among the few exceptions that I can think of are those scientific realist (such as Richard Boyd and Stathis Psillos) who more or less explicitly take an externalist/reliabilist stance on epistemic justification. However, I can hardly think of any scientific realist who takes an explicitly internalist/evidentialist stance. Yet, I don't see why an internalist/evidentialist view of justification wouldn't suit the purposes of (some) scientific realists. Do you think this is just an accident? Or do you see any serious reasons for a scientific realist to think s/he is better off being an externalist about epistemic justification (independenlty on who is right between internalists and externalists)?