Structural realism - the search for a bearer of reality

pages: 610-624

  • Milutin Stojanović Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade

Abstract

In the last two decades the old debate concerning reality of science shifted from questions regarding scientific entities to questions regarding scientific structures. I will present and assess advantages and drawback of this new realists’ focus on structures, and at the same time analyze the wider picture of development of the scientific realism. The structural realism will be tackled in the form encountered in works of John Worrall and James Ladyman. Special attention will be devoted to the relationship of their solutions to the argument based on the scientific revolutions - the pessimistic meta-induction. I will argue that these realist’s strategies are not sufficiently convincing to steer us to make a leap in ontology and presume the existence of meta-physical structure (regardless of the question is it scientifically relevant) - in the first place because neither one of them manages to satisfactorily identify a structure, however general, which accumulates in the scientific-theory change. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. OI179041: Dinamički sistemi u pirodi i društvu: filozofski i empirijski aspekti]

References

Bueno, O. (2000), ‘’Empiricism, Mathematical Change and Scientific Change’’, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 31, pp. 269–96.
Fine, A. (1998), ‘’The Viewpoint of No-One in Particular’’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association 72, pp. 9–20.
Fletcher, S. (2015), “On the Reduction of General Relativity to Newtonian Gravitation”, preprint.
Ghirardi, G. (2013), ‘’The Parts and the Whole: Collapse theories and systems with identical constituents’’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44, pp. 40–7.
Grünbaum, A. (1976), ‘’Can a Theory Answer More Questions than One of Its Rivals?’’, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 1–23.
Hardin, C. & Rosenberg, A. (1982), ‘’In Defence of Convergent Realism’’, Philosophy of Science 49, pp. 604–15.
Kitcher, P. (1993), The Advancement of Science, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ladyman J. (1998), “What is Structural Realism?”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 29, pp. 409–24.
Ladyman J. (2000), “What’s Really Wrong with Constructive Empiricism?: van Fraassen and the Metaphysics of Modality”, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51, pp. 837–56.
Ladyman J. (2001), ‘’Science, Metaphysics and Structural Realism’’, Philosophica 67, pp. 57–76.
Ladyman J. (2011), ‘’ The Scientistic Stance: the empirical and materialist stances reconciled’’, Synthese, 178, pp. 87–98.
Laudan, L. (1981). ‘’A confutation of convergent realism’’, Philosophy of Science 48(1), 19–49.
Laudan L. (1984), “Discussion: Realism without the Real”, Philosophy of Science 51, pp. 156–62.
Norton, J. (1987), “Einstein, the Hole Argument and the Reality of Space,” in J. Forge (ed.), Measurement, Realism and Objectivity, Reidel, pp. 153–88.
Nozick, R. (1998), ‘’Invariance and Objectivity’’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Association, 72, pp. 21–48.
Poincare, H. (1905), Science and Hypothesis, New York: The Walter Scott Publishing.
Psillos, S. (1995), ‘’Is structural realism the best of both worlds?’’, Dialectica 49, pp. 15–46.
Psillos, S. (2011), ‘’Scientifi c Realism with a Humean Face’’, u S. French and J. Saatsi (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science, Continuum, Great Britain, ch. 5, pp. 75–95.
van Fraassen, B.C. (1980), The scientific image, Oxford, Clarendon Press.
van Fraassen, B.C. (1989), Laws and Symmetry, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
van Fraassen, B.C. (2006), “Structure: its Shadow and Substance”, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 57, pp. 275–307.
Weston, T. (1992), ‘’Approximate Truth and Scientific Realism’’, Philosophy of Science 59, pp. 53–74.
Worrall, J. (1989), ‘’Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?’’, Dialectica 43, pp. 99–124.
Worrall, J. (2011), ‘’ Underdetermination, Realism and Empirical Equivalence’’, Synthese 180, pp. 157–72.
Published
2016-10-15
How to Cite
STOJANOVIĆ, Milutin. Structural realism - the search for a bearer of reality. Filozofija i društvo / Philosophy and Society, [S.l.], v. 27, n. 3, oct. 2016. ISSN 2334-8577. Available at: <http://journal.instifdt.bg.ac.rs/index.php?journal=fid&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=395>. Date accessed: 23 sep. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.2298/FID1603616S.
Section
STUDIES AND ARTICLES