Scientific Realism

Edited by Howard Sankey (University of Melbourne)
Assistant editor: Zili Dong (University of Western Ontario)
About this topic
Summary Scientific realism is primarily a view about theoretical science.  According to a classic (or "standard") form of scientific realism, the unobservable "theoretical" entities postulated by scientific theories (e.g. atoms, electrons) are real and theoretical claims about those entities are true or approximately true.  Scientific realism contrasts with commonsense realism, which is realism about the observable entities of the ordinary, everyday world.  Scientific realism may be combined with commonsense realism, though some philosophers take there to be a conflict between science and common sense, which may make it difficult to reconcile the two doctrines.  Some scientific realists ("entity realists") emphasise the reality of theoretical entities while downplaying or avoiding altogether talk of the truth of theories.  Some scientific realists (e.g. "structural realists") downplay or reject the reality of theoretical entities while emphasising structural aspects of theory or reality. Some anti-realists (e.g. "constructive empiricists") admit commonsense realism while rejecting or withholding judgment about scientific realism.  The classic opponent of scientific realism ("instrumentalism") denies that theoretical discourse about theoretical entities is to be interpreted in literal fashion, instead taking the latter to be fictitious entities which play at most a role in prediction at the observational level.  The major argument for scientific realism is the "success argument" (also known as the "no miracles argument" and the "ultimate argument") that scientific realism is the best explanation of the success of science.  Scientific realists who emphasize truth in their formulation of the view require an account of approximate truth or verisimilitude because they tend to see science as progressing toward truth rather than having already reached the final truth about the world (this view is sometimes known as "convergent realism").  The main arguments against scientific realism are that the truth of theory is radically underdetermined by empirical data and the so-called "pessimistic induction" from the falsity of past theories to the likely falsity of current theories.  An important response to the latter objection is that scientific realists should only take specific parts of theories to be true or approximately true rather than take the entirety of a theory to be true or approximately true (so-called "deployment realism"). 
Key works Ian Hacking's book, Representing and Intervening Hacking 1983, provides general discussion of the issues relating to scientific realism, emphasising entity realism.  Stathis Psillos's book, Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth Psillos 1999, also provides general coverage, while developing a deployment realist approach. Two important collections are Jarrett Leplin (ed.) Scientific Realism Leplin 1984, and the more recent Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism edited by Juha Saatsi Saatsi 2017.  Larry Laudan's paper, 'A Confutation of Convergent Realism', presents criticism of scientific realism that is sometimes understood as a pessimistic induction Laudan 1981.  Bas van Fraassen's book, The Scientific Image Van Fraassen Bas 1980, presents criticism of scientific realism and articulates the constructive empiricist form of anti-realism.  For development of structural realism, see John Worrall, 'Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?' Worrall 1989 and James Ladyman 'What is Structural Realism?' Ladyman 1998.
Introductions See Michael Devitt's entry on scientific realism in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary PhilosophyDevitt 2005 and Anjan Chakravartty's entry on scientific realism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Chakravartty 2013.  For a quite basic introduction to scientific realism, see Howard Sankey, 'What is Scientific Realism?' Sankey 2000, which is also available in French translation Sankey 2002.
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  1. Measuring the non-existent: validity before measurement.Kino Zhao - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    This paper examines the role existence plays in measurement validity. I argue that existing popular theories of measurement and of validity follow a correspondence framework, which starts by assuming that an entity exists in the real world with certain properties that allow it to be measurable. Drawing on literature from the sociology of measurement, I show that the correspondence framework faces several theoretical and practical challenges. I suggested the validity-first framework of measurement, which starts with a practice-based validation process as (...)
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  2. Mereological Atomism's Quantum Problems.Ryan Miller - manuscript
    The popular metaphysical view that concrete objects are grounded in their ultimate parts is often motivated by appeals to realist interpretations of contemporary physics. This paper argues that an examination of mainstream interpretations of quantum mechanics undercuts such atomist claims. First, mereological atomism is only plausible in conjunction with Bohmian mechanics. Second, on either an endurantist or perdurantist theory of time, atomism exacerbates Bohmianism’s existing tensions with serious Lorentz invariance in a way that undermines the realist appeal of both views. (...)
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  3. Scientific progress and scientific realism.David Harker - 2022 - In Yafeng Shan (ed.), New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress. Routledge.
  4. Parmenides, astronomy, and scientific realism.Alexander P. D. Mourelatos - 2013 - In Joe McCoy & Charles H. Kahn (eds.), Early Greek philosophy: the Presocratics and the emergence of reason. Catholic University of America Press.
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  5. Scientific realism, anti-realism and psychiatric diagnosis.Sam Fellowes - 2019 - In Şerife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. Bloomsbury Academic.
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  6. Scientific realism without the quantum.Carl Hoefer - 2020 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
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  7. Scientific realism about Friston blankets without literalism.Julian Kiverstein & Michael Kirchhoff - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e200.
    Bruineberg and colleagues' critique of Friston blankets relies on what we call the “literalist fallacy”: the assumption that in order for Friston blankets to represent real boundaries, biological systems must literally possess or instantiate Markov blankets. We argue that it is important to distinguish a realist view of Friston blankets from the literalist view of Bruineberg and colleagues’ critique.
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  8. The Simplicity of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    Physical laws are strikingly simple, although there is no a priori reason they must be so. I propose that nomic realists of all types (Humeans and non-Humeans) should accept that simplicity is a fundamental epistemic guide for discovering and evaluating candidate physical laws. This principle of simplicity clarifies and solves several problems of nomic realism and simplicity. A consequence is that the often-cited epistemic advantage of Humeanism over non-Humeanism is exaggerated, undercutting an influential epistemological argument for Humeanism. Moreover, simplicity is (...)
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  9. Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences.Insa Lawler, Kareem Khalifa & Elay Shech (eds.) - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    This volume brings together leading scholars working on understanding and representation in philosophy of science. It features a critical conversation format between contributors that advances debates concerning scientific understanding, scientific representation, and their delicate interplay.
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  10. Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft. Zum Spannungsverhältnis zweier Erfahrungsweisen.Gregor Schiemann - 2021 - Berlin: De Gruyter.
    Das Verhältnis von Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft befindet sich mit ungewissem Ausgang in stetiger Bewegung. In diesem Prozess ist das treibende Element die Wissenschaft, die Technisierungen ermöglicht und mit ihren Erkenntnissen die Welt überzieht. Trotz der fortschreitenden Verwissenschaftlichung hat sich die Lebenswelt jedoch ihre Eigenständigkeit bewahrt. Die vorliegenden Studien tragen zur Aufklärung dieses erstaunlichen Phänomens bei. Sie weisen Strukturdifferenzen der beiden Erfahrungsweisen auf und zeigen, wie sie mit- und gegeneinander existieren. Zugleich wird deutlich, dass ein Ende der lebensweltlichen Eigenständigkeit einen fundamentalen (...)
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  11. Mεtascience: Scientific General Discourse - No. 2 - Metascientific Ontology.François Maurice - 2022 - Mεtascience: Scientific General Discourse 2:1-260.
    [This is the complete issue of the second issue of Mɛtascience] -/- This second issue of the journal Mεtascience continues the char acterization of this new branch of knowledge that is metasci ence. If it is new, it is not in a radical sense since Mario Bunge practiced it in an exemplary way, since logical positivists were accused of practicing only a mere metascience, since scientists have always practiced it implicitly, and since some philosophers no longer practice philosophy but rather (...)
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  12. Mεtascience: Scientific General Discourse - No. 1 - Mario Bunge Thinker of Materiality.François Maurice - 2020 - Mεtascience: Scientific General Discourse 1:1-164.
    [This is the full issue of the first issue of Mɛtascience] -/- This inaugural issue of the journal Mεtascience is also a special issue since it pays tribute to Mario Bunge (1919-2020) to high light his contribution to knowledge and our filiation with his thought. Mario Bunge's project is part of the humanist and scientific tradition of the Enlightenment. At the end of his intellectual journey, he wrote more than 150 books and 540 articles or chapters, including translations into several (...)
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  13. Limits of Conceivability in the Study of the Future. Lessons from Philosophy of Science.Veli Virmajoki - forthcoming - Futures.
    In this paper, the epistemological and conceptual limits of our ability to conceive and reason about future possibilities are analyzed. It is argued that more attention should be paid in futures studies on these epistemological and conceptual limits. Drawing on three cases from philosophy of science, the paper argues that there are deep epistemological and conceptual limits in our ability to conceive and reason about alternatives to the current world. The nature and existence of these limits are far from obvious (...)
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  14. New Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress.Yafeng Shan (ed.) - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This collection of original essays offers a comprehensive examination of scientific progress, which has been a central topic in recent debates in philosophy of science. Traditionally, debates over scientific progress have focused on different methodological approaches, notably the epistemic and semantic approaches. The chapters in Part I of the book examine these two traditional approaches, as well as the newly revived functional and newly developed noetic approaches. Part II features in-depth case studies of scientific progress from the history of science. (...)
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  15. Philosophy of Science.Alik Pelman - 2022 - Israel: Open University Press.
  16. The Propagation of Suspension of judgment. Or, should we confer any weight to crucial objections the truth-value of which we are ignorant?Aldo Filomeno - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    It is not uncommon in the history of science and philosophy to encounter crucial experiments or crucial objections the truth-value of which we are ignorant, that is, about which we suspend judgment. Should we ignore such objections? Contrary to widespread practice, I show that in and only in some circumstances they should not be ignored, for the epistemically rational doxastic attitude is to suspend judgment also about the hypothesis that the objection targets. In other words, suspension of judgment "propagates" from (...)
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  17. Can meaningless statements be approximately true? On relaxing the semantic component of scientific realism.Darrell P. Rowbottom - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    First, I show that the semantic thesis of scientific realism may be relaxed significantly—to allow that some scientific discourse is not truth-valued—without making any concessions concerning the epistemic or methodological theses which lie at realism’s core. Second, I illustrate how relaxing the semantic thesis allows realists to avoid positing abstract entities and to fend off objections to the ‘no miracles’ argument from positions such as cognitive instrumentalism. Third, I argue that the semantic thesis of scientific realism should be relaxed, because (...)
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  18. Middle path realism and anti-realism: Timothy D. Lyons, Peter Vickers (Eds.): Contemporary scientific realism: The challenge from the history of science. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, 387 pp, $105 HB. [REVIEW]Elay Shech - 2022 - Metascience 31 (2):175-178.
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  19. The Literalist Fallacy and the Free Energy Principle: Model-Building, Scientific Realism, and Instrumentalism.Michael David Kirchhoff, Julian Kiverstein & Ian Robertson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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  20. Time Will Tell: Against Antirealism About the Past.Efraim Wallach - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (4):539-554.
    Past entities, events, and circumstances are neither observable nor manipulatable. Several philosophers argued that this inaccessibility precludes a realistic conception of the past. I survey versions of antirealism and agnosticism about the past formulated by Michael Dummett, Leon Goldstein, and Derek Turner. These accounts differ in their motivations and reasoning, but they share the opinion that the reality of at least large swathes of the past is unknowable. Consequently, they consider statements about them as referring, at most, to present constructs. (...)
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  21. Realism for Realistic People: A New Pragmatist Philosophy of Science.Hasok Chang - 2022 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this innovative book, Hasok Chang constructs a philosophy of science for 'realistic people' interested in understanding and promoting the actual practices of inquiry in science and other knowledge-focused areas of life. Inspired by pragmatist philosophy, he reconceives the very notions of reality and truth on the basis of his concept of the 'operational coherence' of epistemic activities, and offers new pragmatist conceptions of truth and reality as operational ideals achievable in actual scientific practice. Rejecting the version of scientific realism (...)
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  22. Perspectivism and Special Relativity.Mahdi Khalili - 2021 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 43 (2):191-217.
    The special theory of relativity holds significant interest for scientific perspectivists. In this paper, I distinguish between two related meanings of “perspectival,” and argue that reference frames are perspectives, provided that perspectival means “being conditional” rather than “being partial.” Frame-dependent properties such as length, time duration, and simultaneity, are not partially measured in a reference frame, but their measurements are conditional on the choice of frame. I also discuss whether the constancy of the speed of light depends on perspectival factors (...)
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  23. The Cost of Closure: Logical Realism, Anti-Exceptionalism, and Theoretical Equivalence.Michaela M. McSweeney - 2021 - Synthese 199:12795–12817.
    Philosophers of science often assume that logically equivalent theories are theoretically equivalent. I argue that two theses, anti-exceptionalism about logic (which says, roughly, that logic is not a priori, that it is revisable, and that it is not special or set apart from other human inquiry) and logical realism (which says, roughly, that differences in logic reflect genuine metaphysical differences in the world), make trouble for both this commitment and the closely related commitment to theories being closed under logical consequence. (...)
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  24. Against Methodological Continuity and Metaphysical Knowledge.Simon Allzén - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (1):1-20.
    The main purpose of this paper is to refute the metaphysicians ‘methodological continuation’ argument supporting epistemic realism in metaphysics. This argument aims to show that scientific realists have to accept that metaphysics is as rationally justified as science given that they both employ inference to the best explanation, i.e. that metaphysics and science are methodologically continuous. I argue that the reasons given by scientific realists as to why inference to the best explanation is reliable in science do not constitute a (...)
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Varieties of Scientific Realism
  1. Modest Scientific Realism and Belief in Astronomical Entities.Simon Allzén - unknown
    One of the core charges against explanationist scientific realism is that is too epistemically optimistic. Taking the charge seriously, some realists offer alternative forms of scientific realism – semi-realism and theoretical irrealism – designed to be more modestin their epistemic claims. In this paper, I consider two cases in cosmology and astrophysics that raise novel issues for both views: semi-realism is argued to end up making astrophysics metaphysically inflated when confronted with cases regarding the existence and evolution of galaxies and (...)
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  2. Different Ways to be a Realist: A Response to Pincock.Angela Potochnik - forthcoming - In Kareem Khalifa, Insa Lawler & Elay Shech (eds.), Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences.
    In his chapter in this volume, Christopher Pincock develops an argument for scientific realism based on scientific understanding, and he argues that Giere’s (2006) and my (2017, 2020) commitment to the context-dependence of scientific understanding or knowledge renders our views unable to account for an essential step in how scientists come to know. Meanwhile, in my chapter in this volume, I motivate a view that I call "causal pattern realism." In this response to Pincock's chapter, I will sketch a revised (...)
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  3. Against ‘functional gravitational energy’: a critical note on functionalism, selective realism, and geometric objects and gravitational energy.Patrick M. Duerr - 2019 - Synthese 199 (S2):299-333.
    The present paper revisits the debate between realists about gravitational energy in GR and anti-realists/eliminativists. I re-assess the arguments underpinning Hoefer’s seminal eliminativist stance, and those of their realist detractors’ responses. A more circumspect reading of the former is proffered that discloses where the so far not fully appreciated, real challenges lie for realism about gravitational energy. I subsequently turn to Lam and Read’s recent proposals for such a realism. Their arguments are critically examined. Special attention is devoted to the (...)
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  4. Embracing Scientific Realism.Seungbae Park - 2022 - Cham: Springer.
    This book provides philosophers of science with new theoretical resources for making their own contributions to the scientific realism debate. Readers will encounter old and new arguments for and against scientific realism. They will also be given useful tips for how to provide influential formulations of scientific realism and antirealism. Finally, they will see how scientific realism relates to scientific progress, scientific understanding, mathematical realism, and scientific practice.
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  5. Nature: its conceptual architecture.Louis Caruana - 2014 - Bern: Peter Lang.
    Many philosophers adopt methods that emulate those of the natural sciences. For them, this position, which they call naturalism, defines the indispensable set of starting points for fruitful debate in various areas. In spite of this consensus, however, little is ever said about the way naturalism depends on the primary idea of nature. If we understand this dependency of naturalism on underlying accounts of nature, we would be in a better position to recognize and evaluate different kinds of naturalism. In (...)
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  6. What is Scientific Realism?Anjan Chakravartty & Bas C. Van - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):12-25.
    Decades of debate about scientific realism notwithstanding, we find ourselves bemused by what different philosophers appear to think it is, exactly. Does it require any sort of belief in relation to scientific theories and, if so, what sort? Is it rather typified by a certain understanding of the rationality of such beliefs? In the following dialogue we explore these questions in hopes of clarifying some convictions about what scientific realism is, and what it could or should be. En route, we (...)
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  7. Explanatory Elucidation and Scientific Realism.Alberto Cordero - 2012 - Epistemologia 1:59-70.
    Explanatory elucidation occurs when a theory has one or more of its assumptions explained by another independently successful theory. Because explanatory elucidation springs from independently supported theories, it improves the credibility of the assumptions it casts light on, hence its relevance for realists. But cases can be pointed to where explanatory elucidation has badly failed to identify truthful components. One way to address this challenge is by trying to find additional epistemic support for seemingly meritorious theory-parts. Resource in this regard, (...)
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  8. The tenets of hermeneutical realism.Dimitri Ginev - 2012 - Epistemologia 2:264-280.
    This article explores and attempts to resolve some issues that arise when at stake is the need to harmonize philosophical hermeneutics with a kind of realist philosophy of science. The author takes issue with established position in the realism-antirealism controversy. Interventionism is criticized for a residual Cartesian dualism. Cognitive relativism is debated by developing a concept of situated transcendence in the constitution of objects of inquiry. Non-behaviorist arguments against scheme-content dualism are advanced that appeal to context- sensitive theory of meaning. (...)
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  9. Giere's Scientific Perspectivism as Carte Blanche Realism.Mario Gensollen & Marc Jiménez-Rolland - 2021 - ArtefaCToS. Revista de Estudios de la Ciencia y la Tecnología 10 (1):61-74.
    In this paper we explore Ronald N. Giere’s contributions to the scientific realism debate. After outlining some of his general views on the philosophy of science, we locate his contributions within the traditional scientific realism debate. We argue that Giere’s scientific perspectivism is best seen as a form of carte blanche realism, that is: a view according to which science is a practice aiming at truth, and can warrantably claim to have attained it, to a certain degree; however, it does (...)
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  10. Scientific Realism.Michael Devitt - 2005 - In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Clarendon Press.
  11. Scientific Realism as an Issue in Semantics.Christopher Gauker - 2006 - In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Clarendon Press.
  12. The Relativity of Theory by Moti Mizrahi: Pandemics and Pathogens: What’s at Stake in the Debate Over Scientific Realism? [REVIEW]Margaret Greta Turnbull - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87 (C):168-169.
    I provide a critical review of Moti Mizrahi's The Relativity of Theory, expounding on the book's strengths and then providing an extended argument that Mizrahi mischaracterizes the epistemic attitude of concern to antirealism about science as well as the practical stakes involved in adopting the antirealist position.
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  13. Selective Scientific Realism and Truth-Transfer in Theories of Molecular Structure.Myron A. Penner - forthcoming - In Contemporary Scientific Realism: The Challenge from the History of Science. Oxford, UK: pp. 130-158.
    According to scientific realists, the predictive success of mature theories provides a strong epistemic basis for thinking that such theories are approximately true. However, we know that many theories once regarded as well-confirmed and predictively successful were eventually replaced with successor theories, and some claim this undermines the epistemic confidence we should have in the approximate truth of current science. Selective scientific realists in turn argue that if one can show that the predictive success of some rejected theory T is (...)
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  14. Internal Perspectivalism: The Solution to Generality Problems About Proper Function and Natural Norms.Jason Winning - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (33):1-22.
    In this paper, I argue that what counts as the proper function of a trait is a matter of the de facto perspective that the biological system, itself, possesses on what counts as proper functioning for that trait. Unlike non-perspectival accounts, internal perspectivalism does not succumb to generality problems. But unlike external perspectivalism, internal perspectivalism can provide a fully naturalistic, mind-independent grounding of proper function and natural norms. The attribution of perspectives to biological systems is intended to be neither metaphorical (...)
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  15. Vérité partielle et réalisme scientifique: une approche bungéenne.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2020 - Mεtascience: Discours Général Scientifique 1:293-314.
    Le réalisme scientifique occupe une place centrale dans le système philosophique de Mario Bunge. Au cœur de cette thèse, on trouve l’affirmation selon laquelle nous pouvons connaître le monde partiellement. Il s’ensuit que les théories scientifiques ne sont pas totalement vraies ou totalement fausses, mais plutôt partiellement vraies et partiellement fausses. Ces énoncés sur la connaissance scientifique, à première vue plausible pour quiconque est familier avec la pratique scientifique, demandent néanmoins à être clarifiés, précisés et, ultimement, à être inclus dans (...)
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  16. Against the “Working Posits” Version of Selective Realism.Dean Peters - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 62:125-129.
    Most contemporary proponents of scientific realism advocate some form of selective realism. One of the most prominent variants is the working posits view, which claims that the essential propositions of a successful theory are those that are involved in the actual derivations of predictions. In this paper, I offer a systematic examination of this view, surveying no fewer than six competing interpretations of it. I argue, however, that none is satisfactory. A general reason to reject the working posits view is (...)
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  17. The Objectivity of Science.Howard Sankey - manuscript
    The notion of objectivity is ambiguous. A distinction is made between three primary notions of objectivity: ontological objectivity, the objectivity of truth and epistemic objectivity. It is suggested that a realist may explain the relationship between the three notions by saying that use of epistemically objective methods stands the best chance of leading to the objective truth about the objective world.
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  18. Juha Saatsi, ed., "The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism.". [REVIEW]Jan Arreman - 2019 - Philosophy in Review 39 (2):103-104.
    Review of The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism by Juha Saatsi (ed.).
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  19. Realism, Social Theory, and Theoretical Practice.Pär Engholm - 2000 - Journal of Critical Realism 3 (2):14-20.
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  20. “New” Realism as a Problem of Method.Marko Bosnic - 2014 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy:280-304.
    The development of the discussion on “Speculative Realism” and “Speculative Materialism” is very well documented. However, in order to better understand the overall project of this “New Realism” it is helpful to draw light to the genealogy and context in which the problem evolved in. In this paper, I map out a genealogy of the complex problem of “New Realism” in order to understand what it is that is “new” about this realism. The central argument of the paper is that (...)
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Ilkka Niiniluoto, Critical Scientific Realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press , xiv + 341 pp. [REVIEW]Ioannis Votsis - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):444-447.
    This is certainly true. Simulationists and experimentalists face equally relevant challenges when it comes to establishing that the results of their simulation or experiment are informative about the real world. But it is one thing to point this fact out, and it is another to understand how those challenges are overcome, under differing circumstances, and in varying contexts. It is here that Marcel Boumans’ contribution becomes especially valuable. He presents an example from economics in which a mathematical model performs the (...)
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  24. Quo Vadis Selective Scientific Realism?Peter Vickers - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):118-121.
    My current opinion is that the selective realist is in a strong position vis-à-vis the historical challenges. Certainly the realist needs to invoke some careful criteria for realist commitment, and various nuances concerning the nature of her epistemic commitment, and this may raise the ‘death by a thousand qualifications’ question mark. But the concern is unfounded: the qualifications are all independently motivated, and indeed necessary given the philosophical complexity. Qualifications are to be welcomed here; often the truth is far from (...)
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  25. Mind-Dependent Kinds.Khalidi Muhammad Ali - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (2):223-246.
    Many philosophers take mind-independence to be criterial for realism about kinds. This is problematic when it comes to psychological and social kinds, which are unavoidably mind-dependent. But reflection on the case of artificial or synthetic kinds shows that the criterion of mind-independence needs to be qualified in certain ways. However, I argue that none of the usual variants on the criterion of mind-dependence is capable of distinguishing real or natural kinds from non-real kinds. Although there is a way of modifying (...)
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  26. Mechanisms, principles, and Lorentz's cautious realism.Mathias Frisch - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (4):659-679.
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