Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism, and a Scientific Realism Debate That Makes a Difference

Published Web Location

Some scientific realists suggest that scientific communities have improved in their ability to discover alternative theoretical possibilities and that the problem of unconceived alternatives therefore poses a less significant threat to contemporary scientific communities than it did to their historical predecessors. I first argue that the most profound and fundamental historical transformations of the scientific enterprise have actually increased rather than decreased our vulnerability to the problem. I then argue that whether we are troubled by even the prospect of increasing theoretical conservatism in science should depend on the position we occupy in the ongoing debate concerning scientific realism itself.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View