Effective Ontic Structural Realism

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
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Three accounts of effective realism (ER) have been advanced to solve three problems for scientific realism: Fraser and Vickers (forthcoming) develop a version of ER about non-relativistic quantum mechanics that they argue is compatible with all the main realist versions (‘interpretations’) of quantum mechanics avoiding the problem of underdetermination among them; Williams (2019) and Fraser (2020b) propose ER about quantum field theory as a response to the problems facing realist interpretations; Robertson and Wilson (forthcoming) propose ER to deal with the dubious ontological status of the entities belonging to superseded theories. This paper argues for the unification of these proposals based on realism about modal structure and the idea of scale relativity of ontology developed by ontic structural realists. This solves problems some or all the accounts of ER face, especially that of making explicit in what way they are realist. Furthermore, we respond to a recent critique that has been raised against the ontic structural realist account of quantum mechanics that we employ.

Author Profiles

James Ladyman
University of Bristol
Lorenzo Lorenzetti
University of Bristol


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