Does the no miracles argument for scientific realism commit a fallacy? I've read the claim that because science is abductive, and the no miracles argument proceeds via abduction, it is circular.

Is it viciously circular?


Of course it is. What is a miracle other than a complete departure from what is expected. Well, then what is an outlier? The 'no miracles' argument cannot be observed.

It can be proposed as a falsifiable principle, but then it is kind of already falsified. Various things like the unexpected relevance of mathematics to physics come across as miraculous: they are positive results we might wish for, already true, and still inexplicable when they were most relevant. Newton surely considered the power of mathematics a gift from God.

It can be theorized that we would not have reached our Western level of faith in the reliability of results if we did not already have a principle of the miraculous order of the universe.

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    not my downvote btw – user6917 Dec 27 '16 at 16:54
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    Actually, I deserve the downvote, I have responded to the wrong argument. – jobermark Dec 27 '16 at 20:02

Someone like Quine would embrace that it's circular. Naturalized epistemologists tend to be coherentists, who tend to get charged with having circular (or criss-crossing-but-never-essentially-grounding) justifiers.

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