CSS Colloquium: Brad Wray, State University of New York, Oswego

The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of Radical Theory Change

2016.12.23 | Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen

Date Wed 11 Jan
Time 14:15 15:45
Location Aud. D4 (1531-219)


Part of the confusion in the contemporary realism/anti-realism debate is due to the loose way that the term “theory change” is used.  This affects how philosophers evaluate the threat posed by the Pessimistic Induction.  We would benefit from a clarification of the nature of theory change.  I aim to provide a clear definition of the term “change of theory,” one that will bring clarity to what the Pessimistic Induction is intended to show.  I also aim to show that there was a revolution in chemistry in the early 20th Century that affected the Periodic Table of Elements.  This case is especially interesting because much was left unchanged.  But the changes that did occur are fundamental and profoundly affected our understanding of the chemical world.

After the colloquium, coffee, tea and cakes wil be served.

Lecture / talk