I present a recent historical case from cosmology-the story of inflationary cosmology-and on its basis argue that solving explanatory problems is a reliable method for making progress in science. In particular, I claim that the success of inflationary theory at solving its predecessor's explanatory problems justified the theory epistemically, even in advance of the development of novel predictions from the theory and the later confirmation of those predictions. 1Introduction2A Portrait of the Argument as a Short Précis3A Brief History of Inflationary Theory4Empiricist Interpretations of Inflationary Case5A Confutation of Empiricist Interpretations6Explanationist Interpretation of Inflationary Case7Concluding Remarks.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Integrated History and Philosophy of Science Conference, at the 2016 British Society for Philosophy of Science Annual Meeting, and at the Reasoning in Physics workshop at the Center for Advanced Study in Munich, where this article was presented. This research has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement European Consolidator Grant H2020-ERC-2014-CoG 647272 Perspectival Realism. Science, Knowledge, and Truth from a Human Vantage Point).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- History and Philosophy of Science