a metaphysics for scientific realism knowing the unobservable

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A Metaphysics For Scientific Realism

Author : Anjan Chakravartty
ISBN : 9781139468398
Genre : Science
File Size : 44. 78 MB
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Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core principles of the realist position, and sheds light on topics including the varieties of metaphysical commitment required, and the nature of the conflict between realism and its empiricist rivals. By illuminating the connections between realist interpretations of scientific knowledge and the metaphysical foundations supporting them, his book offers a compelling vision of how realism can provide an internally consistent and coherent account of scientific knowledge.

A Metaphysics For Scientific Realism

Author : Anjan Anjan Chakravartty
ISBN : 1508932867
Genre :
File Size : 66. 3 MB
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One might think that in order to discuss the question of whether realism is plausible or reasonable, one should already know what it is. As philosophers know only too well, however, one cannot think about everything at once, and the debate surrounding realism is no exception. One must often assume coherent accounts of various components of a position in order to give careful attention to others, and people on all sides of this debate usually take a great deal for granted so as to focus on epistemic questions.

The Routledge Handbook Of Scientific Realism

Author : Juha Saatsi
ISBN : 9781351362900
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 71. 64 MB
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Scientific realism is a central, long-standing, and hotly debated topic in philosophy of science. Debates about scientific realism concern the very nature and extent of scientific knowledge and progress. Scientific realists defend a positive epistemic attitude towards our best theories and models regarding how they represent the world that is unobservable to our naked senses. Various realist theses are under sceptical fire from scientific antirealists, e.g. empiricists and instrumentalists. The different dimensions of the ensuing debate centrally connect to numerous other topics in philosophy of science and beyond. The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism is an outstanding reference source – the first collection of its kind – to the key issues, positions, and arguments in this important topic. Its thirty-four chapters, written by a team of international experts, are divided into five parts: Historical development of the realist stance Classic debate: core issues and positions Perspectives on contemporary debates The realism debate in disciplinary context Broader reflections In these sections, the core issues and debates presented, analysed, and set into broader historical and disciplinary contexts. The central issues covered include motivations and arguments for realism; challenges to realism from underdetermination and history of science; different variants of realism; the connection of realism to relativism and perspectivism; and the relationship between realism, metaphysics, and epistemology. The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of science. It will also be very useful for anyone interested in the nature and extent of scientific knowledge.

Making Prehistory

Author : Derek Turner
ISBN : 9781139465052
Genre : Science
File Size : 55. 60 MB
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Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? In this book Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific realism debate. His discussion covers some of the main positions in philosophy of science - realism, social constructivism, empiricism, and the natural ontological attitude - and shows how they relate to issues in paleobiology and geology. His original and thought-provoking book will be of wide interest to philosophers and scientists alike.

Scientific Ontology

Author : Anjan Chakravartty
ISBN : 9780190651459
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 20. 70 MB
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Both science and philosophy are interested in questions of ontology - questions about what exists and what these things are like. Science and philosophy, however, seem like very different ways of investigating the world, so how should one proceed? Some defer to the sciences, conceived as something apart from philosophy, and others to metaphysics, conceived as something apart from science, for certain kinds of answers. This book contends that these sorts of deference are misconceived. A compelling account of ontology must appreciate the ways in which the sciences incorporate metaphysical assumptions and arguments. At the same time, it must pay careful attention to how observation, experience, and the empirical dimensions of science are related to what may be viewed as defensible philosophical theorizing about ontology. The promise of an effectively naturalized metaphysics is to encourage beliefs that are formed in ways that do justice to scientific theorizing, modeling, and experimentation. But even armed with such a view, there is no one, uniquely rational way to draw lines between domains of ontology that are suitable for belief, and ones in which it would be better to suspend belief instead. In crucial respects, ontology is in the eye of the beholder: it is informed by underlying commitments with implications for the limits of inquiry, which inevitably vary across rational inquirers. As result, the proper scope of ontology is subject to a striking form of voluntary choice, yielding a new and transformative conception of scientific ontology.

Scientific Perspectivism

Author : Ronald N. Giere
ISBN : 9780226292144
Genre : Science
File Size : 33. 23 MB
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Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science have long argued that scientific claims reflect the particular historical, cultural, and social context in which those claims were made. The nature of scientific knowledge is not absolute because it is influenced by the practice and perspective of human agents. Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both perspectival, and this nature makes scientific knowledge contingent, as Thomas Kuhn theorized forty years ago. Using the example of color vision in humans to illustrate how his theory of “perspectivism” works, Ronald N. Giere argues that colors do not actually exist in objects; rather, color is the result of an interaction between aspects of the world and the human visual system. Giere extends this argument into a general interpretation of human perception and, more controversially, to scientific observation, conjecturing that the output of scientific instruments is perspectival. Furthermore, complex scientific principles—such as Maxwell’s equations describing the behavior of both the electric and magnetic fields—make no claims about the world, but models based on those principles can be used to make claims about specific aspects of the world. Offering a solution to the most contentious debate in the philosophy of science over the past thirty years, Scientific Perspectivism will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of science.

The Scientific Image

Author : Bas C. Van Fraassen
ISBN : 0198244274
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 32 MB
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The aim of The Scientific Image is to develop an empiricist alternative to both logical positivism and scientific realism. Against positivism, the author insists on a literal interpretation of the language of science, and on an irreducibly pragmatic dimension of theory acceptance. Against realism he argues that the central aim of science is empirical adequacy, and that the only belief involved in the acceptance of a scientific theory is belief that the theory fits the observable phenomena. To substatiate this, the book presents three mutually supporting theories concerning science. The first is an account of the relation between a scientific theory and the empirical world. The second is a new theory of explanation and why-questions, according to which the explanatory power of a theory is a pragmatic aspect which goes beyond its empirical import, but which provides no additional reasons for believing it. And the third is an interpretation of probability in physical theory, with reference to both classical and quantum physics. The presentation of these three central theses is preceded by two chapters which provide an informal introduction to current debates in the philosophy of science, particularly concerning scientific realism.

The Metaphysics Of Scientific Realism

Author : Brian Ellis
ISBN : 9781317492191
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 43. 95 MB
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This book presents a major statement on the dominant philosophy of science by one of the world's leading metaphysicians. Brian Ellis's new book develops the metaphysics of scientific realism to the point where it begins to take on the characteristics of a first philosophy. As most people understand it, scientific realism is not yet such a theory. It is not sufficiently general, and has no plausible applications in fields other than the well-established sciences. Nevertheless, Ellis demonstrates that the original arguments that led to scientific realism may be deployed more widely than they originally were to fill out a more complete picture of what there is. Ellis shows that realistic theories of quantum mechanics, time, causality and human freedom can all be developed satisfactorily, and moral theory can be recast to fit within this comprehensive metaphysical framework.

Scientific Metaphysics

Author : Don Ross
ISBN : 9780199696499
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 48. 24 MB
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Scientific Metaphysics collects original essays by leading philosophers of science on the question of whether metaphysics can and should be naturalized--that is, conducted as a part of natural science. Some people think the idea of naturalized metaphysics is a contradiction in terms: metaphysics is by definition about matters that transcend the domain of empirical inquiry. Most of the authors here disagree: they argue that if metaphysics is to hold outany prospect of identifying objective truths, it must be continuous with and inspired by science, or even be of some positive use to science. The essays offer various points of view on the relationship betweennaturalized metaphysics, more traditional forms of metaphysics, and the wider history of philosophy, and draw on examples from physics, biology, economics, psychology. At stake is the question of whether metaphysics should give way to science and disappear from contemporary inquiry, or continue as an activity that unifies the particular sciences into a single naturalistic worldview.

The Structure Of The World

Author : Steven French
ISBN : 9780191507724
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 41. 45 MB
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In The Structure of the World, Steven French articulates and defends the bold claim that there are no objects. At the most fundamental level, modern physics presents us with a world of structures and making sense of that view is the central aim of the increasingly widespread position known as structural realism. Drawing on contemporary work in metaphysics and philosophy of science, as well as the 'forgotten' history of structural realism itself, French attempts to further ground and develop this position. He argues that structural realism offers the best way of balancing our need to accommodate the results of modern science with our desire to arrive at an appropriately informed understanding of the world that science presents to us. Covering not only the realism-antirealism debate, the nature of representation, and the relationship between metaphysics and science, The Structure of the World defends a form of eliminativism about objects that sets laws and symmetry principles at the heart of ontology. In place of a world of microscopic objects banging into one another and governed by the laws of physics, it offers a world of laws and symmetries, on which determinate physical properties are dependent. In presenting this account, French also tackles the distinction between mathematical and physical structures, the nature of laws, and causality in the context of modern physics, and he concludes by exploring the extent to which structural realism can be extended into chemistry and biology.

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