Scientific Realism Versus Antirealism in Science Education

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Abstract
Scientific realists believe both what a scientific theory says about observables and unobservables. In contrast, scientific antirealists believe what a scientific theory says about observables, but not about unobservables. I argue that scientific realism is a more useful doctrine than scientific antirealism in science classrooms. If science teachers are antirealists, they are caught in Moore’s paradox when they help their students grasp the content of a scientific theory, and when they explain a phenomenon in terms of a scientific theory. Teachers ask questions to their students to check whether they have grasped the content of a scientific theory. If the students are antirealists, they are also caught in Moore’s paradox when they respond positively to their teachers’ questions, and when they explain a phenomenon in terms of a scientific theory. Finally, neither teachers nor students can understand phenomena in terms of scientific theories, if they are antirealists.
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First archival date: 2016-04-01
Latest version: 2 (2017-03-26)
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