In philosophy of science, this is an idea contributed by H. Putnam to the Realism vs. Anti-Realism debate. Realists, of the Theoretical and Entity varieties, assume that there exists a “real world” to which evolving scientific theories refer with increasing accuracy and thus tend to think of scientific progress as inevitably converging on the truth. Most Anti-Realists, on the other hand, are convinced that those theories which do not refer to the empirically observable, are merely constructs of human thought used to explain observable phenomena and are valued only on the basis of their pragmatic success. One of the more famous Anti-Realist arguments is the Disastrous Pessimistic Meta-Induction which asserts that:

a. Past scientific theories have all been refuted in favor of new ones.

b. Therefore, all current and future theories will continue to be falsified (the future resembles the past.)

c. Therefore, a convergence on “the truth” is epistemologically utopian and its pursuit irrational.

d. Therefore, Anti-Realism wins.

Personally, I find this to be one of the weaker points of Anti-Realism, but the cool name more than makes up for it :o).

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