Archives For Epistemology

More on Bad Faith…

September 20, 2013 — 1 Comment

Notes from Sartre on Bad Faith Leslie Stevenson

Stevenson starts by arguing that most interpretations of Sartre (including D. Z. Phillips whom I have discussed and responded to in the post below) are misguided due to reading out of context. Sartre’s real life examples are not meant as direct analogies of (in this case) bad faith but perform some other contextual function. Think of them as setting parameters or providing a set of logic formulas. Stevenson sets out to give an account of bad faith with more thought given to Being and Nothingness’ introduction. In the introduction and in part one of Being and Nothingness Sartre sets down necessary truths about consciousness. These necessary truths make bad faith possible and so it’s here that we begin:

“The distinction between reflective (positional, thetic) consciousness and pre-reflective (non-positional, non-thetic) consciousness plays a fundamental and recurring role in Sartre’s argument. In Section III of the Introduction he says that all consciousness is consciousness of something and is thus ‘positional’ consciousness of some object taken to be distinct from the conscious subject. But he adds that ‘the necessary and sufficient condition for a knowing consciousness to be knowledge of its objects, is that it be consciousness of itself as being that knowledge’. He then asks how we should understand this latter principle, and rejects the suggestion that it means ‘To know is to know that one knows’, which would imply that all consciousness would involve reflective consciousness of itself. Sartre suggests that what is true instead is that ‘every positional consciousness of an object is at the same time a non-positional consciousness of itself.’ ” (Stevenson)

So the take home message here is that ‘to know is to know that one knows’ is entirely not the point, but rather that at any given moment of consciousness, consciousness is at once reflective/positional (conscious of an object) and pre-reflective/non-positional conscious of itself not of having knowledge but as being knowledge. One could invoke epistemological frameworks such as coherentism or particularism as a way of illustrating this mode of being. Particularism especially is helpful in that it argues that we know a thing before we know how we know it. Invoking the logic of particularism allows us to say to know is to know, which comes before knowing that or how one knows. Better: To know that or how one knows if and only if one knows.

a previous post on particularism (Chisholm)


(1) For all conscious predicates F, and all people x, x is F if and only if x is pre-reflectively aware that he is F.

(2) For all conscious predicates F, and all people x, x’s being F allows the possibility of, but does not entail, x’s being reflectively aware that he is F.

Stevenson goes on to further extrapolate how this foundation relates to Sartre’s stress on freedom and his claim that ‘human reality must not be necessarily what it is but must be able to be what it is not.’

(3) For all first-order conscious predicates F, and all people x, if x is F he can try to become not F (and if he is not F he can try to become F).

The following paragraph shed’s the most coherent light on Sartre’s example of the waiter that I have come across so far:

“The point that Sartre wants to make by the perhaps by now shop-soiled example of the cafe waiter is surely made plain in the sentences which follow and precede the paragraph which Phillips so misinterprets. ‘The waiter in the cafe cannot be immediately a cafe waiter in the sense that this inkwell is an inkwell’; ‘it is necessary that we make ourselves what we are’. Anything we do, any role we play, even (Sartre wants to say) any emotion we feel or any value we respect, is sustained in being only by our own constantly remade decision. The little Parisian scene of the waiter who is ‘over-acting’ his role is chosen simply as a specially vivid, conspicuous example of what is in Sartre’s view a completely general and necessary truth. There is no suggestion that the waiter need be in bad faith, any more than any player of any human role. He is (for the moment) a waiter, but he does not have to remain one any longer than he wants to; he would presumably be in bad faith if he denied the latter truth, but he may be well aware of the possibility of disputes with the management, angry stormings out, and job resignations even at the cost of unemployment and poverty.” (p256)

On a side note, Stevenson seems to be a person who understands that to have a job is not to be degraded, but rather empowering in its own right, unlike Phillips for whom ‘job’ seems to be a dirty word.

With regards to bad faith Stevenson now moves to the example of the woman on a date to further extrapolate the condition. In the moment in which the woman leaves her hand in the hand of the man, though does not notice as she is all intellect, it is clear that the implication is that she is actively allowing his advances whilst at once unaware. She does not realise that she is encouraging his sexual advances. Bad Faith cannot simply be the mere absence of reflective, introspective awareness of what one is doing. Such an absence is far to common a condition for it to be as much a concern as Sartre is inferring in bad faith. Bad faith must be the denial of what she is doing in encouraging or allowing his sexual advances. After-all self denial/self-deception seems to be the characteristic of bad faith that Sartre is driving at.

What to make of this passage:

“What unity do we find in these various aspects of bad faith? It is a certain art of forming contradictory concepts which unite in themselves both an idea and the negation of that idea. The basic concept which is thus engendered, utilises the double property of the human being, who is at once a facticity and a transcendence. These two aspects of human reality are and ought to be capable of a valid co-ordination. But bad faith does not wish either to co-ordinate them nor to surmount them in a synthesis. Bad faith seeks to affirm their identity while preserving their differences.” (Sartre, p98)

We can try to contrast this with sincerity. Sincerity would require someone to be what he is. Sartre asserts this as impossible and does so through the example of the homosexual. Briefly and simplistically, the homosexual man resists the description of himself as a homosexual man, as he is not a homosexual man in the way that a table is a table. If upon reflection he admits that he is a homosexual man but by that he admits that he cannot cease his homosexual activities (Sartre was writing in the 1940’s and so is antiquated on the issue of homosexuality) he would be in bad faith.

“To the extent that a pattern of conduct is defined as the conduct of a paederast and to the extent that I have adopted this conduct, I am a paederast. But to the extent that human reality cannot be finally defined by patterns of conduct, I am not one.” (p 108)

Although the example in reality is a bit confused, Sartre is driving at the point: here we have an example of bad faith which consists in denying one’s freedom to be otherwise than one is.

Stevenson has provided a clear logic interpretation of Sartre’s bad faith examples. The next step is to further understand them as such and then try to ascertain whether they apply universally or exist only for the Sartre convert and as to whether they form a plausible and holistic view of consciousness and the human experience of dissonance.

Papineau and Induction

October 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

a note from David Papineau “Reliabilism, Induction and Scepticism

The Problem of Induction – Problem? What problem?

Papineau suggests that there are different kinds of circularity (the problem of induction being a circular argument – induction to justify induction). There is a difference that needs to be distinguished between premise circularity and rule circularity. An argument is premise circular if its conclusion is contained amongst its premises. An argument is rule circular if it uses a rule of inference to arrive at a conclusion about that very rule of inference (induction for example).

How do we naturalize the normative?

A normative claim is a claim that one is justified in doing something. Normative claims are evaluative rather than factual. Naturalism emphasizes the empirical. When we talk about a normative aim, we need to justify that this aim is worthy of being pursued. Simply ‘making sense’ (coherent) is not enough – truth conducive.

How can an evaluative claim be derived from an empirical one?

Quine’s naturalized epistemology is characterized as placing itself in the school of psychology; that is, to describe a physical human subject – how humans produce beliefs. Epistemology then becomes a science. It addresses the questions of how justified belief works, ignoring completely justification itself as a central epistemological question. It’s the ‘technology of truth-seeking’.

Kornblith sees epistemology as normative. Despite his naturalism he thinks there is such a thing as epistemic justification. However, normativity is not the topic of the book, this is just a background context for the aims of the book (see chpt 1 notes – Inductive Inference and its Natural Ground) The stated focus of the book is investigating the reliability of our inductive inferences, and their relationship to the causal structure of the world. However, if our inductive inferences are reliable, then this reliability leads to a normative philosophy i.e. we should use this reliable method of inductive inference. So should not the source of normativity (a response to Quine) be part of the focus of the book?

If Kornblith assumes that truth is valued, that the goal of inductive inferences is to seek truths about the world, then he is positing a normative philosophy, just without a comprehensive establishment of what it is that inductive inference is reliable with regards to. Epistemic norms are a means to an end.

Notes from: Joel Pust – Induction, Focused Sampling and the Law of Small Numbers

This paper is a response to Kornblith‘s defense of the use of the Law of Small Numbers (Judgmental bias which occurs when it is assumed that the characteristics of a sample population can be estimated from a small number of observations or data points). Pust is claiming that this argument fails for the following reasons: the sort of inferences Kornblith seeks to justify are not really inductive inferences based on small samples, but rather knowledge based deductive inferences, and secondly that Dorrit Billman’s computational model upon which Kornblith builds some of his argument is not sufficient for this purpose.

Firstly, Kornblith’s defense of the use of the Law of Small Numbers is characterized as reliabilist.

“We have built-in biases in our processing of visual information and such presuppositions bring perceptual errors with them. However, the simple fact that our perceptual mechanisms are biased has no implications for their reliability without the further claim that such biases are inappropriate for our environment.” (Pust, p90)

Our inferential reasoning, like our perceptual mechanisms, whilst prone to making mistakes is nevertheless generally quite relaible. Our inferential mechanisms depend upon the assumption that the world contains natural kinds. With regard to the Law of Small Numbers, Kornblith cites Tversky and Kahneman (K, p90) claiming that we tend to draw inductive inferences on the basis of extraordinarily small samples. The key question becomes how to evaluate this tendency (K, p90). Tversky and Kahneman assert that this tendency is inappropriate, whereas Kornblith points out the question of reliability is far more subtle and complex.

1) Is presdiction from a small sample always unreliable?
2) Is the logic of statistical inference a reasonable standard against which to measure the appropriateness of our inferences?

” […] when a population is uniform with respect to a certain property, a generalisation based on a single case will be reliable indeed.” (Pust, p92)

Imagine that you are observing an unknown species of bird lay an egg. Based on this one observation, and the background knowledge that all birds in existence that have been observed thus far lay eggs, you can infer based on one very small sample that this unknown bird will always lay eggs. This ties in with Quine’s notion of projection. Projection seems to tie in with background knowledge to provide a solid base upon which to infer based on small samples.

Kornblith: we do have “a sensitivity to those features in objects which tend to reside in homeostatic clusters; and a tendency to project those characteristics which are indeed essential to the real kinds in nature.” (K, p95)

This also ties in with the ‘naturalisation’ of Kornblith’s epistemology. Kornblith’s reliabilist argument rejects the notion that the only justified inferential procedures are those that are relaible in any possible world. The justifiedness of a belief is a function of the actual world: actual world reliability of the process (evolution) that produced the justified inferential procedures.


Pust’s summary of Kornblith’s argument:

“The Aim: To provide a reliabilist defense of TLSN.
(1) Inductive generalizations based on small samples (or the single case) will be reliable if the features selected do, in fact, generally co-occur.
(2) In order for such an inferential tendency to be reliable, then, we must possess a sensitivity to those properties of natural kinds that are highly correlated. In other words, we must be able to detect what property correlations obtain.
(3) Though some experimental data shows that we are rather poor at detecting covariation when a single pair of properties covaries, Billman’s research on focused sampling shows that we are good at detecting property covariation when the properties in question also covary with a number of others that jointly covary. In short, when properties are ‘clustered’, we are quite adept at detecting their correlations by engaging in focused sampling.” (Pust, p95)

The main criticism, referring to the bird example above, is that Kornblith;s assertion of small sample sizes misses altogether crucial premises. i.e ‘new species of bird lays an egg’ (based on 1 observation) needs to be a conjunct with ‘all members of a biological species reproduce in the same manner’, such that:

premise: An observed new species of bird lays an egg.
premise: All members of a biological species reproduce in the same manner.
concl: New species of bird will always reproduce via laying eggs.

This is a deductive inference, even if the premise themselves were arrived at inductively; knowledge based deduction. This could be construed as ‘prior knowledge’ plus ‘observations’ equals ‘new knowledge’.

Kornblith’s descriptors ‘sensitivity’ and ‘intuitive grasp’ for his assertion of our evolved inductive reasoning mechanisms in this new light possibly, and most likely, correlate with background knowledge. Pust redesign’s Kornblith’s argument such that we have inductive inferences drawn from the law of large numbers (we develop knowledge of the world based on large scale observations) and then based on this background knowledge are able to make deductive inferences on the basis small samples.

Quine – Natural Kinds

October 25, 2012 — 4 Comments

Notes on Quine’s famous paper: Natural Kinds

Quine, Willard Van Orman. 1969. Natural Kinds. in Ontological Relativity and Other Essays: Columbia Univ. Press.

The paper starts with a problem for induction: “What tends to confirm an induction?” He relates Hempel’s puzzle of the non-black non-ravens and Goodman’s puzzle of the grue emeralds to an innate sense we have for similarity and sorting into kinds. First of all, we need to understand projection. The grue problem: this has been difficult for me to get my head around and it seems to have some complex logic problems, not to mention much discussion across the net around its implications and predicates. All emeralds studied before 2013 are green, so induction would suggest that all emeralds are green. Simple enough. However, at time t all emeralds turn blue but we do not know this yet. An emerald that has turned from green to blue is grue. So all emeralds studied after time t in 2013 will be grue and hence blue. The predicate green is projectable, the predicate grue is not, as who is to know that the emeralds are going to change color? Some discussions on this have broadened the context to suggest other precious stones change color in the same fashion creating a precedent and likelihood that emeralds will change color, therefore can you use induction to conclude that all emeralds are grue?

A projectable predicate counts towards the confirmation of all x‘s are z‘s. Quine uses projectability to solve the black raven, non-black non-raven problem. ‘Black’ and ‘raven’ are projectable, though ‘non-black’ and ‘non-raven’ are not. Hence, the raven problem is not an induction problem as induction only runs in the same direction as projectability. However, the proposition ‘all non-black things are non-ravens‘ is still lawlike, as it is logically equivalent to ‘all x are y‘.

“A projectable predicate is one that is true of all and only the things of a kind. What makes Goodman’s example a puzzle, however, is the dubious scientific standing of a general notion of similarity, or of kind.” (p116)

Quine then turns his attention from projectability to the problem of determining a ‘property’ as we need to sort kinds via their common properties. The point of projectability was to first outline how we might have confidence in our inductions about kinds in a temporal setting. He then illustrates how fundamental the notion of similarity or kind is to our thinking, yet how alien it is to logic and set theory. The non-logical roots of similarity and kind are important.

“One part of the problem of induction, the part that asks why there should be regularities in nature at all, can, I think, be dismissed. That there are or have been regularities, for whatever reason, is an established fact of science; and we cannot ask better than that. Why there have been regularities is an obscure question, for it is hard to see what would count as an answer. What does make clear sense is this other part of the problem of induction: why does our innate subjective spacing of qualities accord so well with the functionally relevant groupings in nature as to make our inductions tend to come out right? Why should our subjective spacing of qualities have a special purchase on nature and a lien on the future?” (p126)

Quine turns to Darwin and suggests that people’s innate spacing of qualities is a gene-linked trait, and that successful inductions will have become predominate through natural selection. He asserts that he is not generalising or creating a priori arguments. He wants to demonstrate that the ‘innateness’ he is describing is not an argument against empiricism. Rather than innate ideas (rationalists – continental) he is describing innate capacities (empirical – Darwin). He sees philosophy as continuous with science, with no external vantage point (no foundationalism – Quinean holism). Therefore all scientific findings that are at present plausible can be used a specificity in philosophy as elsewhere.

Important: Kornblith departs from Quine on this point. He asserts that we can survive without our cognitive capacities being accurate; see chpt 1.

He next acknowledges inductions conspicuous failures. He uses the sense-input data we have as humans as an example, primarily color. We are well aware of our sense data limitations, yet in spite of an array of inductive errors made in such a context we have still been successful. This boils down to the human condition whereby our limitations have helped us survive on one hand, i.e. color is helpful at the food gathering level, but on the other are insignificant to such activities as broader theoretical science. So there is a dynamic existence and use of sense data and innate similarity biases. Essentially, it is the achievement of the species to have risen above, using inductive inference, his sensory limitations and sensory space. Induction has allowed a trial and error process of theorizing and therefore has a definite temporal quality/factor that needs to be included in any justification discussion of induction:

“A crude example is the modification of the notion of fish by excluding whales and porpoises. Another taxonomic example is the grouping of kangaroos, opossums, and marsupial mice in a single kind, marsupials, while excluding ordinary mice. By primitive standards the marsupial mouse is more similar to the ordinary mouse than to the kangaroo; by theoretical standards the reverse is true.” (p128)

1) Kornblith’s natural kinds are constituted by unobservable properties. This seems to have been critiqued as a return to Platonic ideals, or some kind of out-dated metaphysics, though I do not see this notion of unobservables in this light. If an unobservable is a homeostatic cluster, a gene, a chemical compound, a DNA strand, then it is induced by science to be of the physical world (metaphysics – what is the world that we may know it – in philosophy). If evolution is intoriduced to the argument, these are definitely not ideals as they are in a state of change and relationship to the environment. This is foremost a metaphysical theory (though, if it is a theory that purports to describe things in the world that can be empirically observed and tested, is it not a physical theory??)

2) There are real kinds in nature, Locke’s real essences.

3) Epistemology: this all relates to using induction to justify belief. However, always watch for using induction to justify induction. If Kornblith uses IBE about the success of science to justify induction, and IBE is a form of induction, is there a circular problem developing? I would argue that this does not need to be defined as circular, but rather that inferential inductive arguments are satisfactory so long as they are successful, as they have been thus far, until such a time as they are unsuccessful. You could take Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shifts as a model for mapping this out. Also, watch for a priori arguments. IBE is comparative. It looks at alternative explanations, determining the best explanation for the given data. This can be used to frame the ‘satisfactory’ comment: once the data changes i.e. science is unsuccessful, induction can be argued as unjustified. However, the character of science, defined as Popper and Kuhn might put it, that it seeks to best explain the given data (explanatory, risky conjectures and refutations, and paradigmatic), science becoming ‘unsuccessful’ is highly unlikely.

4) Natural kinds and their apparent existence in the world show that inductive inference is reliable. Natural kinds can be argued for via Richard Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster (HPC) account of natural kinds. The real kind structure of nature is what underlies the reliability of inductive inference. HPC is not committed to the existence of a single correct classificatory system in each scientific domain.

5) updating Locke: Locke assumed that Natural Kinds had to have all properties in common. Kornblith (in light of science) asserts that some properties are essential to natural kinds, others are non-essential, and members of natural kinds need only share the essential (HPC). Locke assumed that we couldn’t discover real essences. The advance of science has allows us now to discover ‘unobservables’. Given the success of science, or nominal kind classifications reflect real differences in kind found in nature.

6) Philosophy of science: realism vs. anti-realism. Kornblith’s argument for real kinds and the success of science reflect a traditional argument for scientific realism. Success of science is measured by empirical, explanatory, technological successes. The best explanation for this success is that scientific theories are (approximately) true and the entities they posit exist. This is IBE of an observed fact: success of science.

7) Kornblith’s view of Natural Kinds asserts that there are real divisions in nature. This runs counter to Locke who asserts that there are no chasms or gaps in nature.

8) Reductionism: special sciences reduce to physics and/or chemistry. Kornblith rejects this. Biological kinds may be composed of physical stuff, but biological kinds do not reduce to chemical or physical kinds. This seems anti-intuitive to me. I would have thought that a biological kind i.e. a reptile, would at some point reduce to a chemical kind i.e. DNA chemical makeup unique to reptiles. From Kornblith:

“Consider a particular dog, Fido. Fido is entirely physically composed … Nevertheless, even if we were to have an atom by atom description of Fido at this moment, Fido could not be identified with this collection of atoms. If we were to remove a single atom from the collection, we would not have the same collection; but we would, in all likelihood, still have the same dog.” (K, p 54 – 55)

But what if a change was made at the DNA level, at the time of conception and development of fetus, a change could be significant enough to entirely remove Fido from his natural kind grouping. So perhaps at the level of the atom kinds are indistinguishable, i.e. atoms are all alike, but at the chemical level kinds are entirely distinguishable.

Also, the question arises, am I identifiable with the matter that makes me up? Alternatively, how significant is the loss of particles and atoms in dry skin, or when I cut myself and lose blood? Do I really lose a part of myself? So perhaps there is a difference between the atoms that constitute the matter that you are, and the process of formation at the beginning, in DNA or whatever else, that determines what you are, what hair color you will have or deformities or eye color. I would have to argue that I am identical with the DNA blueprint that constitutes my physical makeup; it gives me my blue eyes, my brown hair, my height, my general physique. In this sense I argue for reductionism. But, am I identical with the atoms that come together to constitute the matter that holds me together? No. There is a temporal factor to this reductionism to do with conception and evolution.

Also, natural kinds is not about individual entities, it is about groupings.

What is IBE?

Simply, IBE is using logical inference to create a hypothesis that accounts for reliable data, or seeks to explain relevant evidence i.e. the lawn/street etc is wet in the morning, therefore IBE would lead us to hypothesize that it rained last night. IBE also seeks to make the most economic explanation, hence the use of the word ‘best’ in the title.

Kornblith employs IBE to argue from success of science to existence of natural kinds. This raises the question of induction (the success of science can be accounted for by natural kinds, using IBE as the method to make such a hypothesis).

IBE: a form of inference in it’s own right, rather than a form of induction or deduction.

Problems with IBE:

Putting Inference to the Best Explanation in its Place – T Day & H Kincaid

“Within epistemology, IBE is used in at least two ways: as a fundamental rule of belief revision or as a strategy for showing that a favored account of justification has the needed ties to truth.” (p272)

Harman claims that all inductive inference is IBE. IBE as the basic rule of justification is useful for foundationalists. i.e. Moser, for whom foundations are subjective non-conceptual contents, non-propositional experiences that can justify propositions when the propositions are the best explanation for non-conceptual contents. IBE also appeals to truth; just think of Kornblith’s argument for the success of science, or propositions that hold up in comparison with the natural over time.

Van Fraassen sees IBE as worthless. He asserts that it makes us ‘incoherent’:

“… any IBE will work only given some hypotheses to choose from. However, unless we that the relevant contenders probably contain the truth, then inferring to the best explanation does not up the odds that we are picking the true one. Moreover, our current science is just one of many possible accounts of the world, most of which we cannot even state and most of which of course must be false. Thus our own current views must be taken as a random member of the total possible explanations, and thus as probably not true. Thus even if our current theories were the best explanation, that would be no ground for taking them to be true.” (p274)

There is no detailed explanation of IBE by its defenders or detractors. This chapter points out two basic approaches to explanation: unification and causation. If we understand IBE as unification, then 1) IBE collapses into nothing more than coherence with the totality of belief and evidence, thus making IBE redundant and uninformative; or 2) IBE is defeasible, limited argument strategy. If explanation is the citing of causes, then likewise IBE is a defeasible, limited argument strategy.

Day and Kincaid suggest a different form of inference, a kind of precursor to IBE: “On the causal interpretation, IBE traded on our background knowledge about causal processes to warrant an inference to one hypothesis over another. This suggests that IBE does not name a fundamental pattern of inference but that it is instead an instance of another, more general inference strategy. That strategy infers to warranted beliefs from background information and data. When those background beliefs essentially involve claims about explanation and those claims ground inferences from the data to new beliefs, this general inference strategy becomes IBE.” (p282)

“In short, appeals to the best explanation are really implicit appeals to substantive empirical assumptions, not to some privileged form of inference. It is the substantive assumptions that do the real work.” (p282)


IBE is useful, but must be evaluated within a context. In general, context of an argument is everything that goes into determining the adequacy of the inference (except for syntax and semantics); background knowledge, internal vs. external evidence, and purposes. Purpose refers to whether the conclusion is intended to fit into an overall doxastic system. Imagine taking an argument to a fellow specialist, who shares a set of assumptions and background knowledge, vs. to a skeptic.

Internal/external: the most internal standpoint allows only the facts that are to be explained as evidence (in the case of the wet lawn and street, only the wetness is to be used as evidence), whereas the most external standpoint is to ask skeptical questions and find evidence that responds to them (the sense data of the observer is incorrect; Descartes demon).

With contextual factors in mind, it can be seen that depending on the availability of background knowledge, or the presence of a common tradition, IBE the force and success of a given IBE can vary in different contexts.

Is Kornblith using IBE in a contextual way?

Scientific realism suggests we have good evidence that current science is in large part approximately true. IBE is used to draw this conclusion. Anti-realists deny this, and argue that IBE begs the question and that realism is not the best explanation for scientific success.

On anti-realists: “In fact, they need a well-confirmed theory of science. Such a theory would have to explain the rise and fall of scientific theories, the practice of science, and so forth, without invoking realist assumptions. That theory would also have to meet reasonable criteria for good science […] needless to say, anti-realists have no such theory.” (p292)

On realists: “To build successfully an IBE argument for realism, they need (1) to show that anti-realist explanations of science are empirically inadequate and (2) to give a clear account of when scientific success argues for realism. They must achieve the first task to show that realism is the best explanation […] Realists need to take on to take on the second task because we have good evidence that false theories sometimes have been predictively successful.” (p292)

It needs to noted and remembered that this discussion itself must be broken into its own specific contexts. Any theory or argument must be (or will likely be) piecemeal. Science is enormous in its scope and its breadth of claims. A ‘unified’ argument for either realism or anti-realism would be powerful, but unlikely. Any combination of both realist and anti-realist outcomes is possible.