), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Vol. But a realist may concede that hard choices occur: at most one of P or P* is correct, and we may have to wait and see which, if either, pans out. “Real Realism: The Galilean Strategy”, The Philosophical Review 110 (2), 151-197. On this interpretation, the positivist project provides epistemological foundations for problematic sentences of science that purport to describe unobservable realities, such as electrons, by reducing sentences employing these concepts to unproblematic sentences that describe only observable realities. The former are retained in later theories; the latter are not. Simply arguing (with Hardin and Rosenburg) for preservation of reference via preservation of causal role is too easy: do Aristotle’s natural place, Newton’s gravitational action, and Einstein’s space-time curvature all play the same causal role in explaining free-fall phenomena? Stanford, P.K. Objects and properties, according to IR3, are as much made as discovered. Semantic, economic, empirical, and pragmatic considerations as a whole favor scientific realism over scientific antirealism, when realists believe that our best theories, successful theories that cohere with each other, are approximately true, and antirealists believe that they are approximately empirically adequate. By the 1880s many physicists came to doubt the attainability of this ideal since classical mechanics lacked the tools to describe a host of terrestrial phenomena: “visualizable” atoms that are subject to position-dependent central forces (so successful for representing celestial phenomena) were ill-suited for representing electromagnetic phenomena, “dissipative” phenomena in heat engines and chemical reactions, and so forth. REALISM VS. ANTI-REALISM 1) “No miracles” argument: Supports realism. In the Einstein-Bohr methodological debates about the completeness of quantum mechanics, the realist Einstein saw QM as a degenerate theory, while the instrumentalist Bohr saw QM as a progressive theory. Realism vs. the ism’s • Historicism Two concepts can only be understood in correctly historicized manner - from the perspectives of the paradigms in which they occur Kuhn brought this ism about with “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” Antirealism due … Scientists did not treat Stoney’s definition as binding analytic truth and “Electrons exist” as a synthetic hypothesis whose truth must be verified. 3) Underdetermination argument: Supports anti-realism. First, a few clarifications of IBE are in order. Putnam (1975a, 1975b) provides a general argument against all theories of meaning (Frege, Russell, Carnap, Kuhn), including positivist theories, which are classical in the relevant sense. More generally, Putnam argues, truth cannot be identified with any epistemic notion E: take any revisable proposition p that satisfies E, we already know that p might not be true; so being E does not amount to being true. Any of these strategies must meet two further challenges, emphasized in (Stanford 2003a, 2003b). To be a realist position, EStR has to presuppose that, in addition to the structure of the phenomena whose objects are knowable, there is a mind-independent, knowable “underlying” structure, whose objects are unknowable. In order to give Premise 1 bite, the theories must have empirical consequences, which they will have only with the help of auxiliary hypotheses, A (§4). In pursuing this project Kant committed himself to several claims about space and time—in particular that space must be Euclidean, which he regarded as both a priori (because a condition of the possibility of our experience of objects) and synthetic (because not derivable from analytical equivalences)—which became increasingly problematic as 19th century science and mathematics advanced. Tarski showed how to define the concept is true-in-L (where L is a placeholder for some particular language). Chakravartty, A. First, O-terms apply to apparently theoretical entities (for example, red corpuscle) and T-terms apply to apparently observable entities (for example, the moon is a satellite). I reply that the predicate is viable, because there are clear cases of approximately true descriptions, and because Hilpinen/Lewis's theoretical account of approximate truth can handle those clear cases. But the discovery that the latter was true and the former false should not be described as a change of meaning or reference of the word “gravitation”. Fine reiterates the criticisms of §5d and §8: truth has properties that any epistemic truth-surrogate lacks. Intuitively, the meaning of a theoretical term like “electron” is specified by: “electron” means “the thing x that plays the Θ-role”, where Θ is the theory of electrons. Since such theory pairs have the same literal content and differ only in their non-literal, theoretical content, they are merely inter-definable variants of a common observational basis: they say the same thing but express it differently. But the inference from success to (approximate) truth is either invalid if read as a deductive move (because many successful theories turned out to be false (§7b)), weak if read as an inductive move (because nearly all successful past theories turned out to be false), or circular if read as a primitive IBE move. Second, IBE does not work without some logical connection between success and (approximate) truth. 6, 251-259, London: Routledge. “All bachelors are unmarried” and “All electrons have the property of being the x such that Θ(x)” are analytic truths, whereas “Kant was a bachelor” and “Electrons exist” are synthetic truths. A common argument for SR is the following: This is an instance of inference to the best explanation (§5e). Recognizing the difficulties of basing antirealism on a “broken-backed” linguistic distinction between O-terms and T-terms, he allows our judgments about unobservables to be literally construed but, he argues, our evidence can never entitle us to our beliefs about unobservables. Moreover, the connection between empirical equivalence (agreement about observables in the sense of §6a) and evidential support is questionable (Laudan and Leplin 1991). Structuralists can also resist the argument from empirically equivalent theories (§6c)—to the extent that the theories are structurally equivalent they would capture the same structural facts, which is all a theory needs to capture—and do so without embracing a particular realist ontology occupying the nodes of the structure. Consequently, internalist truth lacks the properties of truth. Poincaré, H. (1913), The Foundations of Science. 1 Unless otherwise noted, the terms ‘realism’ and ‘anti-realism’ will denote the more specific viewpoints of scientific realism and scientific anti-realism respectively. Realist truth and reference are word-world/thought-world correspondences (SR4), an intuitively plausible view with a respectable pedigree going back to Aristotle. If T and T’ are empirically equivalent, then any evidence E confirms/infirms T to degree n if and only if E confirms/infirms T’ to degree n. If (E confirms/infirms T to degree n if and only if E confirms/infirms T’ to degree n), then we have no reason to believe T rather than T’ or vice versa. If we cannot reach out to mind-independent objects, we must bring them into our linguistic and conceptual range. Realists add to the core position the redundant word “REALLY”: “electrons REALLY exist”. Consequently, if the experiment yields not-O = “The measured angle-sum of the triangle is not equal to 180º”, we cannot deduce not-H = “Space is non-Euclidean”. Moreover, even for cases where T* approaches T as some parameter approaches a limit, it is controversial what to conclude. This distinction rests on the observational-theoretical distinction (§3b): scientific sentences (even theoretical ones like “Electrons exist”) have meaningful verifiable content; sentences of metaphysics (like “God exists”) have no verifiable content and are meaningless. But this requires that, in progressive theory-change, structure (retained and improved) is what explains increased empirical success. Now, scientific anti-realism is a house with many mansions and a prominent variety in modern philosophy of science, is the variety known as “constructive empiricism”, which has been elaborated by the American philosopher Bas van Fraassen since the early 1980s. My personal view is that if, hypothetically speaking, realism or anti-realism turned out to be true, then the biggest impact it would have is in the search for new theories. New York: The Science Press. Virtually all T-T* transitions in the past were affected by PUA: the earlier T-theorists selected T as the best supported theory of the available alternatives; they did not conceive of T* as an alternative; T* was conceived only later yet T* is typically better supported than T. At any given time, we could only conceive a limited set of hypotheses that were confirmed by all the evidence then available, yet subsequent inquiry revealed distinct alternatives that turned out to be equally or better confirmed by that evidence. Thus, for example, Perrin’s experiments showed that the most likely cause of Brownian motion was molecular collisions with the Brownian particles; Rutherford’s experiments showed that the most likely cause of backward scattering of a-particles bombarded at gold foil were collisions with the nuclei of the gold atoms. The term “antirealism” (or “anti-realism”)encompasses any position that is opposed to realism along one or moreof the dimensions canvassed in section 1.2: the metaphysical commitment to the existence of a mind-independentreality; the semantic commitment to interpret theories literally or atface value; and the epistemological commitment to regard theories asfurnishing knowledge of both observables and unobservables. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maxwell, G. (1962), “On the Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities”, in H. Feigl and G. Maxwell (eds. (2) Scientific uses of IBE are grounded in, and are just sophisticated applications of, a principle we use in everyday inferential practice. Instead, for example, the 180º measurement could also be accommodated by presupposing that light rays traverse shortest paths in spherical space but are disturbed by a force, so that physical space is “really” non-Euclidean: the true angle-sum of the triangle is greater than 180º, but the disturbing force makes it “appear” that space is Euclidean and the angle-sum of the triangle is 180º.
2020 scientific realism vs antirealism