The Realism/Antirealism Debate in the Philosophy of Science

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DUDAU, Radu, 2002. The Realism/Antirealism Debate in the Philosophy of Science

@phdthesis{Dudau2002Reali-3466, title={The Realism/Antirealism Debate in the Philosophy of Science}, year={2002}, author={Dudau, Radu}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

Dudau, Radu 2002 2011-03-23T13:46:27Z Die Realismus/Antirealismus-Debatte in der Wissenschaftsphilosophie eng deposit-license Dudau, Radu This is a defense of the doctrine of scientific realism (SR). SR is defined through<br />the following two claims:<br />(i) Most essential unobservables posited by the well-established current scientific<br />theories exist independently of our minds.<br />(ii) We know our well-established scientific theories to be approximately true.<br /><br />I first offer positive argumentation for SR. I begin with the<br />so-called 'success arguments' for SR: 1) scientific<br />theories most of the times entail successful predictions; 2) science is<br />methodologically successful in generating empirically successful theories.<br />SR explains these facts via inference to the best explanation (IBE).<br /><br />I combine Hacking's experimental argument for entity realism with<br />Salmon's common-cause principle. I take entity realism to be foundational<br />to SR: one may believe in the existence<br />of some theoretical entities without believing in any particular theory in which these are<br />embedded. Its motivation comes from experimental practice, where the manipulation of<br />these entities often relies on incompatible theoretical accounts.<br /><br />The underdetermination (UD) topic is thereafter discussed. Several attempts to<br />distinguish between an observable and an unobservable realm are critically discussed,<br />as well as the possibility that for any given theory, there are<br />empirically equivalents generated by means of algorithms. I present<br />extensive argumentation to the effect that such algorithmic rivals are not to be taken<br />seriously.<br /><br />Social constructivism (SC) is being critically treated. I proceed by distinguishing between<br />a metaphysical, a semantic, and an epistemic variant of SC. I conclude that only a<br />moderate metaphysical constructivism can stand on its own feet. Its claim<br />is merely that some facts about the world are socially constructed.<br /><br />I finish with a plea for a selective SR, able to do justice to the presence<br />of both instrumentalism and modest constructivism in scientific practice. The Realism/Antirealism Debate in the Philosophy of Science 2011-03-23T13:46:27Z application/pdf

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