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  1. In Defense of Realism and Selectivism From Lyons’s Objections.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Foundations of Science 1.
    Lyons (2016, 2017, 2018) formulates Laudan’s (1981) historical objection to scientific realism as a modus tollens. I present a better formulation of Laudan’s objection, and then argue that Lyons’s formulation is supererogatory. Lyons rejects scientific realism (Putnam, 1975) on the grounds that some successful past theories were (completely) false. I reply that scientific realism is not the categorical hypothesis that all successful scientific theories are (approximately) true, but rather the statistical hypothesis that most successful scientific theories are (approximately) true. Lyons (...)
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  2. The "Unreasonable" Effectiveness of Mathematics: The Foundational Approach of the Theoretic Alternatives.Catalin Barboianu - 2015 - Revista de Filosofie 62 (1):58-71.
    The attempts of theoretically solving the famous puzzle-dictum of physicist Eugene Wigner regarding the “unreasonable” effectiveness of mathematics as a problem of analytical philosophy, started at the end of the 19th century, are yet far from coming out with an acceptable theoretical solution. The theories developed for explaining the empirical “miracle” of applied mathematics vary in nature, foundation and solution, from denying the existence of a genuine problem to structural theories with an advanced level of mathematical formalism. Despite this variation, (...)
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  3. The Coherence of Evolutionary Theory with Its Neighboring Theories.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica 67 (2):87-102.
    Evolutionary theory coheres with its neighboring theories, such as the theory of plate tectonics, molecular biology, electromagnetic theory, and the germ theory of disease. These neighboring theories were previously unconceived, but they were later conceived, and then they cohered with evolutionary theory. Since evolutionary theory has been strengthened by its several neighboring theories that were previously unconceived, it will be strengthened by infinitely many hitherto unconceived neighboring theories. This argument for evolutionary theory echoes the problem of unconceived alternatives. Ironically, however, (...)
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  4. Railton, explanation, and metaphysical debates.Seyed Mohammad Hosseini & Majid Akbari - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations at University of Tabriz 24 (5):69-92.
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Varieties of Scientific Realism
  1. Critiques of Axiological Realism and Surrealism.Seungbae Park - forthcoming - Acta Analytica.
    Lyons’s (2003, 2018) axiological realism holds that science pursues true theories. I object that despite its name, it is a variant of scientific antirealism, and is susceptible to all the problems with scientific antirealism. Lyons (2003, 2018) also advances a variant of surrealism as an alternative to the realist explanation for success. I object that it does not give rise to understanding because it is an ad hoc explanans and because it gives a conditional explanation. Lyons might use axiological realism (...)
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  2. The Descriptive and Normative Versions of Scientific Realism and Pessimism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Filozofia: Journal for Philosophy 74 (4):278–290.
    Descriptive realism holds that T is true, while normative realism holds that T is warranted. Descriptive pessimism holds that T is false, while normative pessimism holds that T is unwarranted. We should distinguish between descriptive and normative realism because some arguments against scientific realism require that scientific realism be interpreted as descriptive realism, and because scientific realists can retreat from descriptive to normative realism when descriptive realism is under attack. We should also distinguish between descriptive and normative pessimism because some (...)
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  3. Review of The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism by Juha Saatsi (Ed.). [REVIEW]Jan Arreman - forthcoming - Philosophy in Review.
    Review of The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism by Juha Saatsi (ed.).
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  4. Comment on Scientific Objectivity with a Human Face by Professor Holm Tetens.Howard Sankey - 2004 - In Martin Carrier, J. Roggenhoffer, G. Kuppers & Ph Blanchard (eds.), Knowledge and the World: Challenges Beyond the Science Wars. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 95-98.
    This is a comment on Professor Holm Tetens' paper, 'Scientific Objectivity with a Human Face'.
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  5. What is Scientific Realism?Howard Sankey - 2000 - Divinatio 12:103-120.
    This is an introduction to the position of scientific realism, which outlines a number of core doctrines of scientific realism, and indicates a number of optional and non-core doctrine. It also sketches the basic argument for scientific realism, known as the success argument.
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  6. A Less Than Direct Connection Indeed: Reply to Jakowljewitsch.Howard Sankey - 2006 - Divinatio 24:157-168.
    This is a response to Dragan Jakowljewitsch's 'The Successes of Science and Scientific-Theoretical Realism: A Less Than Direct Connection'.
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  7. Realism Without Limits.Howard Sankey - 2004 - Divinatio 20:145-165.
    This is a sequel to my paper, ‘What is Scientific Realism?’, which appeared in an earlier issue of this journal (Sankey, 2000a). A number of papers by other authors on topics relating to scientific realism have followed in subsequent issues. In this paper I revisit some of the themes developed in my earlier paper in the light of these later papers. I begin by restating the key ideas of the earlier paper. Next, I mention a number of afterthoughts which I (...)
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  8. Scientific Realism and the Conflict with Common Sense.Howard Sankey - forthcoming - In Wenceslao Gonzalez (ed.), New Approaches to Scientific Realism. De Gruyter.
    In this paper, I explore the purported conflict between science and common sense within the context of scientific realism. I argue for a version of scientific realism which retains commitment to realism about common sense rather than seeking to eliminate it.
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  9. Science, Common Sense and Reality.Howard Sankey - manuscript
    Does science provide knowledge of reality? In this paper, I offer a positive response to this question. I reject the anti-realist claim that we are unable to acquire knowledge of reality in favour of the realist view that science yields knowledge of the external world. But what world is that? Some argue that science leads to the overthrow of our commonsense view of the world. Common sense is “stone-age metaphysics” to be rejected as the false theory of our primitive ancestors. (...)
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  10. What Do Symmetries Tell Us About Structure?Thomas William Barrett - 2017 - Philosophy of Science (4):617-639.
    Mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers of physics often look to the symmetries of an object for insight into the structure and constitution of the object. My aim in this paper is to explain why this practice is successful. In order to do so, I present a collection of results that are closely related to (and in a sense, generalizations of) Beth’s and Svenonius’ theorems.
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  11. Realism and Explanatory Perspectivism.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Michela Massimi & C. D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects. New York: Routledge.
    This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
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  12. Scientific Realism Meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory.
    I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...)
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  13. Role-Player Realism.Paul Teller - manuscript
    In practice theoretical terms are open-ended in not being attached to anything completely specific. This raises a problem for scientific realism: If there is no one completely specific kind of thing that might be in the extension of “atom”, what is it to claim that atoms exist? A realist’s solution is to say that in theoretical contexts of mature atom-theories there are things that play the role of atoms as characterized in that theory-context. The paper closes with a laundry list (...)
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  14. Interactive Realism.Emma Ruttkamp - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):41-52.
    I investigate a new understanding of realism in science, referred to as ‘interactive realism’, and I suggest the ‘evolutionary progressiveness’ of a theory as novel criterion for this kind of realism. My basic claim is that we cannot be realists about anything except the progress affected by myriad science-reality interactions that are constantly moving on a continuum of increased ‘fitness’ determined according to empirical constraints. Moreover to reflect this movement accurately, there is a corresponding continuum of verdicts about the status (...)
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  15. Form-Driven Vs. Content-Driven Arguments for Realism.Juha Saatsi - 2010 - In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    I offer a meta-level analysis of realist arguments for the reliability of ampliative reasoning about the unobservable. We can distinguish form-driven and content-driven arguments for realism: form-driven arguments appeal to the form of inductive inferences, whilst content-driven arguments appeal to their specific content. After regimenting the realism debate in these terms, I will argue that the content-driven arguments are preferable. Along the way I will discuss how my analysis relates to John Norton’s recent, more general thesis that the grounds for (...)
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Standard Scientific Realism
  1. From the End of Unitary Science Projection to the Causally Complete Complexity Science: Extended Mathematics, Solved Problems, New Organisation and Superior Purposes.Andrei P. Kirilyuk - 2017 - In A. P. Kirilyuk, Theory of Everything, Ultimate Reality and the End of Humanity: Extended Sustainability by the Universal Science of Complexity. Beau Bassin: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. pp. 199-209.
    The deep crisis in modern fundamental science development is ever more evident and openly recognised now even by mainstream, official science professionals and leaders. By no coincidence, it occurs in parallel to the world civilisation crisis and related global change processes, where the true power of unreduced scientific knowledge is just badly missing as the indispensable and unique tool for the emerging greater problem solution and further progress at a superior level of complex world dynamics. Here we reveal the mathematically (...)
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  2. Topos Theoretic Quantum Realism.Benjamin Eva - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1149-1181.
    ABSTRACT Topos quantum theory is standardly portrayed as a kind of ‘neo-realist’ reformulation of quantum mechanics.1 1 In this article, I study the extent to which TQT can really be characterized as a realist formulation of the theory, and examine the question of whether the kind of realism that is provided by TQT satisfies the philosophical motivations that are usually associated with the search for a realist reformulation of quantum theory. Specifically, I show that the notion of the quantum state (...)
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  3. Epistemic Selectivity, Historical Threats, and the Non-Epistemic Tenets of Scientific Realism.Timothy Lyons - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3203-3219.
    The scientific realism debate has now reached an entirely new level of sophistication. Faced with increasingly focused challenges, epistemic scientific realists have appropriately revised their basic meta-hypothesis that successful scientific theories are approximately true: they have emphasized criteria that render realism far more selective and, so, plausible. As a framework for discussion, I use what I take to be the most influential current variant of selective epistemic realism, deployment realism. Toward the identification of new case studies that challenge this form (...)
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  4. Subject and Object in Scientific Realism.Howard Sankey - 2017 - In Paula Angelova, Jassen Andreev & Emil Lensky (eds.), Das Interpretative Universum. Wurzburg, Germany: Konigshausen & Neumann. pp. 293-306.
    In this paper, I explore the relationship between the subject and the object from the perspective of scientific realism.
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  5. Scientific Realism: What It is, the Contemporary Debate, and New Directions.Darrell Rowbottom - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):451-484.
    First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
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  6. Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology Or: The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of the Wave Function.Valia Allori - 2018 - Lato Sensu 1 (5):69-76.
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave (...)
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  7. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind.Adam Morton & Paul Churchland - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (2):299.
    I assess Churchland's views on folk psychology and conceptual thinking, with particular emphasis on the connection between these topics.
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  8. Models, Idealisations, and Realism.Juha Saatsi - 2016 - In F. Sterpetti, E. Ippoloti & T. Nickles (eds.), Models and Inferences in Science. Springer.
    I explore a challenge that idealisations pose to scientific realism and argue that the realist can best accommodate idealisations by capitalising on certain modal features of idealised models that are underwritten by laws of nature.
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  9. The Curious Case of Freeman Dyson and the Paranormal.Matthew Dentith - 2008 - Skeptic 14 (2).
    Michael Shermer recently attacked Freeman Dyson for putting forward the claim that there might be something in paranormal claims after all. Whilst I agree with Shermer on many points, I do think you can put forward a plausible theory as to why the Natural Sciences may not describe all phenomena, and that the undescribed phenomena might well be called 'paranormal' because of it. In this paper I will put forward the view that the language of the Natural Sciences may not (...)
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  10. Moderately Naturalistic Metaphysics.Matteo Morganti & Tuomas E. Tahko - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2557-2580.
    The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science, is not only workable but recommended.
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  11. Ciencia, realidad y racionalidad.Howard Sankey - 2015 - University of Cauca Press.
    This is a collection of my essays in the philosophy of science which have been translated into Spanish.
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  12. Scientific Realism, Adaptationism and the Problem of the Criterion.Fabio Sterpetti - 2015 - Kairos 13:7-45.
    Scientific Realism (SR) has three crucial aspects: 1) the centrality of the concept of truth, 2) the idea that success is a reliable indicator of truth, and 3) the idea that the Inference to the Best Explanation is a reliable inference rule. It will be outlined how some realists try to overcome the difficulties which arise in justifying such crucial aspects relying on an adaptationist view of evolutionism, and why such attempts are inadequate. Finally, we will briefly sketch some of (...)
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  13. Scientific Realism and Basic Common Sense.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Kairos 10:11-24.
    This paper considers the relationship between science and common sense. It takes as its point of departure, Eddington’s distinction between the table of physics and the table of common sense, as well as Eddington’s suggestion that science shows common sense to be false. Against the suggestion that science shows common sense to be false, it is argued that there is a form of common sense, basic common sense, which is not typically overthrown by scientific research. Such basic common sense is (...)
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  14. Empiricism for Cyborgs.Adam Toon - 2014 - Philosophical Issues 24 (1):409-425.
    One important debate between scientific realists and constructive empiricists concerns whether we observe things using instruments. This paper offers a new perspective on the debate over instruments by looking to recent discussion in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Realists often speak of instruments as ‘extensions’ to our senses. I ask whether the realist may strengthen her view by drawing on the extended mind thesis. Proponents of the extended mind thesis claim that cognitive processes can sometimes extend beyond our brains (...)
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  15. Realism, Science, and Pragmatism.Kenneth R. Westphal (ed.) - 2014 - Routledge.
    This collection of original essays aims to reinvigorate the debate surrounding philosophical realism in relation to philosophy of science, pragmatism, epistemology, and theory of perception. Questions concerning realism are as current and as ancient as philosophy itself; this volume explores relations between different positions designated as ‘realism’ by examining specific cases in point, drawn from a broad range of systematic problems and historical views, from ancient Greek philosophy through the present. The first section examines the context of the project; contributions (...)
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  16. Success, Truth and the Galilean Strategy.P. D. Magnus - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):465-474.
    Philip Kitcher develops the Galilean Strategy to defend realism against its many opponents. I explore the structure of the Galilean Strategy and consider it specifically as an instrument against constructive empiricism. Kitcher claims that the Galilean Strategy underwrites an inference from success to truth. We should resist that conclusion, I argue, but the Galilean Strategy should lead us by other routes to believe in many things about which the empiricist would rather remain agnostic. 1 Target: empiricism 2 The Galilean Strategy (...)
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  17. Realisms and Their Opponents.Uskali Mäki - 2001 - In N. J. Smelser & B. Baltes (eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. pp. 19--12815.
    In everyday usage, ‘realism’ is often used as a name for a practically or epistemically low-ambition attitude, while ‘idealism’ is often taken to denote a highambition—if not utopian—attitude. In philosophcal usage, mostly, it is the other way around: those who are called realists tend to claim more than their opponents—they are the philosophical optimists. Within philosophy itself, ‘realism’ adopts a variety of interrelated and contested meanings. It is used as the name for doctrines about issues such as perceptual access to (...)
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  18. Scientific Enquiry and Natural Kinds: From Planets to Mallards.P. D. Magnus - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
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  19. Non‐Competitor Conditions in the Scientific Realism Debate.Timothy D. Lyons - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):65-84.
    A general insight of 20th-century philosophy of science is that the acceptance of a scientific theory is grounded, not merely on a theory's relation to data, but on its status as having no, or being superior to its, competitors. I explore the ways in which scientific realists might be thought to utilise this insight, have in fact utilised it, and can legitimately utilise it. In more detail, I point out that, barring a natural but mistaken characterisation of scientific realism, traditional (...)
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  20. Scientific Realism and the Rationality of Science.Howard Sankey - 2008 - Ashgate.
    Scientific realism is the position that the aim of science is to advance on truth and increase knowledge about observable and unobservable aspects of the mind-independent world which we inhabit. This book articulates and defends that position. In presenting a clear formulation and addressing the major arguments for scientific realism Sankey appeals to philosophers beyond the community of, typically Anglo-American, analytic philosophers of science to appreciate and understand the doctrine. The book emphasizes the epistemological aspects of scientific realism and contains (...)
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  21. Qu'est-ce que le realisme scientifique?Howard Sankey - 2002 - Reseaux 94:69-82.
    Les tables, les chaises, les gens assis sur des chaises, à des tables sont des objets composés de matière. Selon la science, la matière se compose principalement d'atomes. Les atomes sont faits d'électrons, de neutrons et de protons. Les neutrons et les protons forment un noyau autour duquel orbitent les électrons. Outre ces particules, les physiciens en ont découvert un grand nombre d'autres, comme les photons, les quarks et les neutrinos.
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Convergent Realism
  1. What is the Point of Reduction in Science?Karen Crowther - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    The numerous and diverse roles of theory reduction in science have been insufficiently explored in the philosophy literature on reduction. Part of the reason for this has been a lack of attention paid to reduction2 (successional reduction)---although I here argue that this sense of reduction is closer to reduction1 (explanatory reduction) than is commonly recognised, and I use an account of reduction that is neutral between the two. This paper draws attention to the utility---and incredible versatility---of theory reduction. A non-exhaustive (...)
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  2. Realizm zreformowany. Filozofia Iana Hackinga a spór o status poznawczy wiedzy naukowej.Mateusz Kotowski - 2016 - Wrocław: Oficyna Naukowa PFF.
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  3. Robust Realism for the Life Sciences.Markus Eronen - 2016 - Synthese:1-14.
    Although scientific realism is the default position in the life sciences, philosophical accounts of realism are geared towards physics and run into trouble when applied to fields such as biology or neuroscience. In this paper, I formulate a new robustness-based version of entity realism, and show that it provides a plausible account of realism for the life sciences that is also continuous with scientific practice. It is based on the idea that if there are several independent ways of measuring, detecting (...)
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  4. Scientific Realism: What It is, the Contemporary Debate, and New Directions.Darrell Rowbottom - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):451-484.
    First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
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  5. The Methodological Problems of Theory Unification (in the context of Maxwell's fusion of optics and electrodynamics).Rinat M. Nugayev - 2016 - Philosophy of Science and Technology (Moscow) 21 (2).
    It is discerned what light can bring the recent historical reconstructions of maxwellian optics and electromagnetism unification on the following philosophical/methodological questions. I. Why should one believe that Nature is ultimately simple and that unified theories are more likely to be true? II. What does it mean to say that a theory is unified? III. Why theory unification should be an epistemic virtue? To answer the questions posed genesis and development of Maxwellian electrodynamics are elucidated. It is enunciated that the (...)
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  6. Scientific Realism and Primitive Ontology Or: The Pessimistic Induction and the Nature of the Wave Function.Valia Allori - 2018 - Lato Sensu 1 (5):69-76.
    In this paper I wish to connect the recent debate in the philosophy of quantum mechanics concerning the nature of the wave function to the historical debate in the philosophy of science regarding the tenability of scientific realism. Being realist about quantum mechanics is particularly challenging when focusing on the wave function. According to the wave function ontology approach, the wave function is a concrete physical entity. In contrast, according to an alternative viewpoint, namely the primitive ontology approach, the wave (...)
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  7. Convergent Realism and Its Rivals.Rinat M. Nugayev - 2012 - Credo New (3):1-27.
    CONVERGENT REALISM AND ITS RIVALS (joining the realism-antirealism debates in modern Western philosophy of science). Rinat M. Nugayev, Kazan branch of Russian University of Cooperation. Abstract. Arguments pro and contra convergent realism are considered. It is argued that to meet the antirealist challenges convergent realism meta-programme hard core should be modified significantly . However well-known rivals of structural realism – entity realism (N. Cartwright and I. Hacking) and structural realism (John Worrall) – are mere revisionist versions of convergent realism based (...)
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  8. Historical Inductions, Old and New.Juha Saatsi - 2015 - Synthese:1-15.
    I review prominent historical arguments against scientific realism to indicate how they display a systematic overshooting in the conclusions drawn from the historical evidence. The root of the overshooting can be located in some critical, undue presuppositions regarding realism. I will highlight these presuppositions in connection with both Laudan’s ‘Old induction’ and Stanford’s New induction, and then delineate a minimal realist view that does without the problematic presuppositions.
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  9. Success, Truth and the Galilean Strategy.P. D. Magnus - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):465-474.
    Philip Kitcher develops the Galilean Strategy to defend realism against its many opponents. I explore the structure of the Galilean Strategy and consider it specifically as an instrument against constructive empiricism. Kitcher claims that the Galilean Strategy underwrites an inference from success to truth. We should resist that conclusion, I argue, but the Galilean Strategy should lead us by other routes to believe in many things about which the empiricist would rather remain agnostic. 1 Target: empiricism 2 The Galilean Strategy (...)
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  10. Some Convergences and Divergences in the Realism of Charles Peirce and Ayn Rand.Marc Champagne - 2006 - Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8 (1):19-39.
    Structured around Charles S. Peirce's three-fold categorical scheme, this article proposes a comparative study of Ayn Rand and Peirce's realist views in general metaphysics. Rand's stance is seen as diverging with Peirce's argument from asymptotic representation but converging with arguments from brute relation and neutral category. It is argued that, by dismissing traditional subject-object dualisms, Rand and Peirce both propose iconoclastic construals of what it means to be real, dismissals made all the more noteworthy by the fact each chose to (...)
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