Seungbae Park

Ulsan National Institute Of Science And Technology
  •  29
    This book provides philosophers of science with new theoretical resources for making their own contributions to the scientific realism debate. Readers will encounter old and new arguments for and against scientific realism. They will also be given useful tips for how to provide influential formulations of scientific realism and antirealism. Finally, they will see how scientific realism relates to scientific progress, scientific understanding, mathematical realism, and scientific practice.
  •  24
    The Unvirtuous Prediction of the Pessimistic Induction
    Filozofia 76 (8): 581-595. 2021.
    Pessimists predict that future scientific theories will replace present scientific theories. However, they do not specify when the predicted events will take place, so we do not have the chance to blame them for having made a false prediction, although we might have the chance to praise them for having made a true prediction. Their predictions contrast with astronomers’ predictions. Astronomers specify when the next solar eclipse will happen, so we have both the chance to blame them for having m…Read more
  •  22
    Van Fraassen explains rejections and asymmetries in science in terms of his contextual theory of explanation in the same way that scientists explain observable phenomena in the world in terms of scientific theories. I object that van Fraassen’s skeptical view regarding inference to the best explanation together with the English view of rationality jointly imply that the contextual theory is not rationally compelling, so van Fraassen and his epistemic colleagues can rationally disbelieve it. Pras…Read more
  •  82
    Quantum entanglement poses a challenge to the traditional metaphysical view that an extrinsic property of an object is determined by its intrinsic properties. So structural realists might be tempted to cite quantum entanglement as evidence for structural realism. I argue, however, that quantum entanglement undermines structural realism. If we classify two entangled electrons as a single system, we can say that their spin properties are intrinsic properties of the system, and that we can have kno…Read more
  •  38
    In Defense of Religious Practicalism
    European Journal of Science and Theology 17 (3). 2021.
    Religious fictionalism holds that religious sentences are false, that religious practitioners accept rather than believe religious sentences, and that it is justifiable for them to act on religious sentences. I develop an alternative to religious fictionalism, which I call “religious practicalism.” It holds that we do not know whether religious sentences are true or false, that religious practitioners believe rather than merely accept religious sentences, and that it is justifiable for them to a…Read more
  •  46
    On the Argument from Double Spaces: A Reply to Moti Mizrahi
    Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (2): 1-6. 2021.
    Van Fraassen infers the truth of the contextual theory from his observation that it has passed a crucial test. Mizrahi infers the comparative truth of our best theories from his observation that they are more successful than their competitors. Their inferences require, according to the argument from double spaces, the prior belief that it is more likely that their target theories were pulled out from the T-space than from the O-space. The T-space is the logical space of unconceived theories whos…Read more
  •  83
    The Appearance and the Reality of a Scientific Theory
    Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (11): 59-69. 2020.
    Scientific realists claim that the best of successful rival theories is (approximately) true. Relative realists object that we cannot make the absolute judgment that a theory is successful, and that we can only make the relative judgment that it is more successful than its competitor. I argue that this objection is undermined by the cases in which empirical equivalents are successful. Relative realists invoke the argument from a bad lot to undermine scientific realism and to support relative rea…Read more
  •  82
    Replies to Healey’s Comments Regarding van Fraassen’s Positions
    Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (1): 38-47. 2020.
    Healey (2019a) makes four comments on my (Park, 2019a) objections to van Fraassen’s positions. The four comments concern the issues of whether ‘disbelief’ is appropriate or inappropriate to characterize van Fraassen’s position, what the relationship between a theory and models is for van Fraassen, whether he believes or not that a theory is empirically adequate, and whether destructive empiricism is tenable or not. I reply to those comments in this paper.
  •  129
    A formulational debate is a debate over whether certain definitions of scientific realism and antirealism are useful or useless. By contrast, an epistemological debate is a debate over whether we have sufficient evidence for scientific realism and antirealism defined in a certain manner. I argue that Hilary Putnam’s definitions of scientific realism and antirealism are more useful than Bas van Fraassen’s definitions of scientific realism and constructive empiricism because Putnam’s definitions c…Read more
  •  96
    Surrealism Is Not an Alternative to Scientific Realism
    Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology 10 (4). 2019.
    Surrealism holds that observables behave as if T were true, whereas scientific realism holds that T is true. Surrealism and scientific realism give different explanations of why T is empirically adequate. According to surrealism, T is empirically adequate because observables behave as if it were true. According to scientific realism, T is empirically adequate because it is true. I argue that the surrealist explanation merely clarifies the concept of empirical adequacy, whereas the realist explan…Read more
  •  237
    Scientific Understanding, Fictional Understanding, and Scientific Progress
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (1). 2020.
    The epistemic account and the noetic account hold that the essence of scientific progress is the increase in knowledge and understanding, respectively. Dellsén (2018) criticizes the epistemic account (Park, 2017a) and defends the noetic account (Dellsén, 2016). I argue that Dellsén’s criticisms against the epistemic account fail, and that his notion of understanding, which he claims requires neither belief nor justification, cannot explain scientific progress, although it can explain fictional p…Read more
  •  222
    How to Formulate Scientific Realism and Antirealism
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (4). 2019.
    The wider the gap between rivaling positions, the more there can be debates between rivaling interlocutors. The gap between the respective formulations of scientific realism and antirealism that invoke the Prussian conception of rationality is wider than the gap between the respective formulations of scientific realism and antirealism that invoke the English conception of rationality. Therefore, scientific realists and antirealists should choose the former over the latter as the framework of the…Read more
  •  307
    Critiques of Axiological Realism and Surrealism
    Acta Analytica 35 (1): 61-74. 2020.
    Lyons’s (2003, 2018) axiological realism holds that science pursues true theories. I object that despite its name, it is a variant of scientific antirealism, and is susceptible to all the problems with scientific antirealism. Lyons (2003, 2018) also advances a variant of surrealism as an alternative to the realist explanation for success. I object that it does not give rise to understanding because it is an ad hoc explanans and because it gives a conditional explanation. Lyons might use axiologi…Read more
  •  154
    In Defense of Realism and Selectivism from Lyons’s Objections
    Foundations of Science 24 (4): 605-615. 2019.
    Lyons (2016, 2017, 2018) formulates Laudan’s (1981) historical objection to scientific realism as a modus tollens. I present a better formulation of Laudan’s objection, and then argue that Lyons’s formulation is supererogatory. Lyons rejects scientific realism (Putnam, 1975) on the grounds that some successful past theories were (completely) false. I reply that scientific realism is not the categorical hypothesis that all successful scientific theories are (approximately) true, but rather the st…Read more
  •  213
    Van Fraassen contends that there is no argument that rationally compels us to disbelieve a successful theory, T. I object that this contention places upon him the burden of showing that scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments, such as the pessimistic induction, do not rationally compel us to disbelieve T. Van Fraassen uses the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve T. I argue that realists can use it to rationally believe T, despite scientific antirealists’ favorite arguments a…Read more
  •  179
    The Exemplar Approach to Science and Religion
    Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 6 (2). 2019.
    We can judge whether some activities are scientific or religious, depending on how similar they are to exemplar scientific activities or to exemplar religious activities, even if we cannot specify the necessary and sufficient conditions for science and religion. The absence of the demarcation between science and religion does not justify the school policy of teaching the creationist hypothesis that God created the universe any more than it justifies the religious policy of teaching evolutionary …Read more
  •  347
    The Descriptive and Normative Versions of Scientific Realism and Pessimism
    Filozofia: Journal for Philosophy 74 (4). 2019.
    Descriptive realism holds that T is true, while normative realism holds that T is warranted. Descriptive pessimism holds that T is false, while normative pessimism holds that T is unwarranted. We should distinguish between descriptive and normative realism because some arguments against scientific realism require that scientific realism be interpreted as descriptive realism, and because scientific realists can retreat from descriptive to normative realism when descriptive realism is under attack…Read more
  •  161
    The absolute pessimistic induction states that earlier theories, although successful, were abandoned, so current theories, although successful, will also be abandoned. By contrast, the relative pessimistic induction states that earlier theories, although superior to their predecessors, were discarded, so current theories, although superior to earlier theories, will also be discarded. Some pessimists would have us believe that the relative pessimistic induction avoids empirical progressivism. I a…Read more
  •  250
    The Coherence of Evolutionary Theory with Its Neighboring Theories
    Acta Biotheoretica 67 (2): 87-102. 2019.
    Evolutionary theory coheres with its neighboring theories, such as the theory of plate tectonics, molecular biology, electromagnetic theory, and the germ theory of disease. These neighboring theories were previously unconceived, but they were later conceived, and then they cohered with evolutionary theory. Since evolutionary theory has been strengthened by its several neighboring theories that were previously unconceived, it will be strengthened by infinitely many hitherto unconceived neighborin…Read more
  •  182
    Nickles (2016, 2017, forthcoming) raises many original objections against scientific realism. One of them holds that scientific realism originates from the end of history illusion. I reply that this objection is self-defeating and commits the genetic fallacy. Another objection is that it is unknowable whether our descendants will regard our current mature theories as true or false. I reply that this objection entails skepticism about induction, leading to skepticism about the world, which is inc…Read more
  •  222
    New Objections to the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives
    Filosofia Unisinos 20 (2): 138-145. 2019.
    The problem of unconceived alternatives can be undermined, regardless of whether the possibility space of alternatives is bounded or unbounded. If it is bounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not yet eliminated enough false alternatives is higher than the probability that scientists have already eliminated enough false alternatives. If it is unbounded, pessimists need to justify their assumption that the probability that scientists have not…Read more
  •  242
    Van Fraassen (2007, 2017) consistently uses the English view of rationality to parry criticisms from scientific realists. I assume for the sake of argument that the English view of rationality is tenable, and then argue that it has disastrous implications for van Fraassen’s (1980) contextual theory of explanation, for the empiricist position that T is empirically adequate, and for scientific progress. If you invoke the English view of rationality to rationally disbelieve that your epistemic coll…Read more
  •  120
    Philosophers and Scientists Are Social Epistemic Agents
    Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. 2018.
    In this paper, I reply to Markus Arnold’s comment and Amanda Bryant’s comment on my work “Can Kuhn’s Taxonomic Incommensurability be an Image of Science?” in Moti Mizrahi’s edited collection, The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation?. Philosophers and scientists are social epistemic agents. As such, they ought to behave in accordance with epistemic norms governing the behavior of social epistemic agents.
  •  277
    Localism vs. Individualism for the Scientific Realism Debate
    Philosophical Papers 48 (3): 359-377. 2019.
    Localism is the view that the unit of evaluation in the scientific realism debate is a single scientific discipline, sub-discipline, or claim, whereas individualism is the view that the unit of evaluation is a single scientific theory. Localism is compatible, while individualism is not, with a local pessimistic induction and a local selective induction. Asay (2016) presents several arguments to support localism and undercut globalism, according to which the unit of evaluation is the set of all s…Read more
  •  386
    Two Criticisms against Mathematical Realism
    Diametros 52 96-106. 2017.
    Mathematical realism asserts that mathematical objects exist in the abstract world, and that a mathematical sentence is true or false, depending on whether the abstract world is as the mathematical sentence says it is. I raise two objections against mathematical realism. First, the abstract world is queer in that it allows for contradictory states of affairs. Second, mathematical realism does not have a theoretical resource to explain why a sentence about a tricle is true or false. A tricle is a…Read more
  •  294
    The Pessimistic Induction and the Golden Rule
    Problemos 93 70-80. 2018.
    Nickles (2017) advocates scientific antirealism by appealing to the pessimistic induction over scientific theories, the illusion hypothesis (Quoidbach, Gilbert, and Wilson, 2013), and Darwin’s evolutionary theory. He rejects Putnam’s (1975: 73) no-miracles argument on the grounds that it uses inference to the best explanation. I object that both the illusion hypothesis and evolutionary theory clash with the pessimistic induction and with his negative attitude towards inference to the best explan…Read more
  •  576
    Optimistic Realism over Selectivism
    Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1): 89-106. 2019.
    Selectivism holds that some theoretical contents of most present theories will be preserved in future theories. By contrast, optimistic realism holds that most theoretical contents of most present theories will be preserved in future theories. I construct a pessimistic induction over selectivists to undermine selectivism, and an optimistic induction over optimistic realists to support optimistic realism. The former holds that since the selectivists of the early twentieth century were overly caut…Read more
  •  337
    In Defense of the Epistemic Imperative
    Axiomathes 28 (4): 435-446. 2018.
    Sample (2015) argues that scientists ought not to believe that their theories are true because they cannot fulfill the epistemic obligation to take the diachronic perspective on their theories. I reply that Sample’s argument imposes an inordinately heavy epistemic obligation on scientists, and that it spells doom not only for scientific theories but also for observational beliefs and philosophical ideas that Samples endorses. I also delineate what I take to be a reasonable epistemic obligation f…Read more
  •  268
    Understanding without Justification and Belief?
    Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3). 2017.
    Dellsén (2016a) argues that understanding requires neither justification nor belief. I object that ridding understanding of justification and belief comes with the following costs. (i) No claim about the world can be inferred from what we understand. (ii) We run into either Moore’s paradox or certain disconcerting questions. (iii) Understanding does not represent the world. (iv) Understanding cannot take the central place in epistemology. (v) Understanding cannot be invoked to give an account of…Read more
  •  317
    Can Mathematical Objects Be Causally Efficacious?
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3). 2019.
    Callard (2007) argues that it is metaphysically possible that a mathematical object, although abstract, causally affects the brain. I raise the following objections. First, a successful defence of mathematical realism requires not merely the metaphysical possibility but rather the actuality that a mathematical object affects the brain. Second, mathematical realists need to confront a set of three pertinent issues: why a mathematical object does not affect other concrete objects and other mathema…Read more