Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Conceiving the Inconceivable: An Assessment of Stanford’s New Induction [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 17 • Author/s: Giovanni Buonocore, Emilia Margoni, Francesca Pero
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of science, Theoretical philosophy

Stanford’s unconceived alternative argument is inductively based on the history of science and tells us that when a scientist is choosing a theory T1 at time t1 over a set of less promising alternatives, she is concurrently failing to conceive valid theoretical alternatives to T1, i.e., theories that will be accepted by a scientific community at later times, thus displacing T1. The aim of the present paper is to argue that the actual strength and reach of Stanford’s argument sensibly vary according to the status of the unconceived alternatives at…