In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Pekka Syrjänen (University of Helsinki) will give a talk on “Novel prediction and the selectionist challenge”.

The seminar takes place in hybrid format in person and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on the 14th of November. To join the seminar, please contact for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.


One of the most prominent arguments for scientific realism is that it is the only view that does not make the success of science ‘a miracle.’ van Fraassen famously challenged the Miracle argument, arguing that it is no surprise that empirically successful theories survive in the scientific process, as scientists actively select empirically successful theories. Realists often argue that van Fraassen’s response is uncompelling, because it does not challenge realism’s explanation for the novel predictive success of scientific theories. I present a new version of the selectionist argument that responds to the realist’s objection and challenges the novelty-based Miracle argument. 

Author bio:

Pekka Syrjänen is a doctoral student in theoretical philosophy at the University of Helsinki. His PhD research focuses on the epistemic value of prediction in science.