IBE is a rule guiding rational choice among rival hypotheses. Niiniluoto, I. Others espoused global antirealism. In idealist (or internalist) semantics content drives and the world follows: the world is whatever satisfies the descriptive content of our thoughts; the content of “water” is the clear, tasteless, potable, nourishing liquid found in lakes and rivers. The fact that Galileo’s law, Kepler’s laws, the ideal gas laws, tidal phenomena, the behavior of macroscopic solids, liquids, and gases all find a deductive home under Newton’s laws provides warrant for belief in the facticity of Newton’s laws. Suppose a scientific theory T tells us “A is unobservable by humans”. Some IBE-realists resist Premise 2: T and T’ may be equally confirmed by the evidence, yet one of them may possess superior explanatory virtues (§5e) that make it the best explanation of the evidence and thus, by IBE, more entitled to our assent—especially if the other is a less natural, ad hoc variant of the “nice” theory. Proponents believe that science is full of theories that are proved incorrect, and that the majority of theories ultimately are rejected or refined. Harman, G. (1965), “The Inference to the Best Explanation”, The Philosophical Review 74, 88–95. Application of these criteria accounts for progress and theory choice. None is likely to convince any realist (Musgrave 1985; Stanford 2001). Empirical adequacy is logically weaker than truth: T’s truth entails its empirical adequacy but not conversely. Suppose the intended reference scheme (which correlates our word uses with objects in the world) is that which satisfies all the constraints our best theory imposes. Measurements of lines and angles typically rely on the hypothesis that light travels shortest paths. NOA takes science on its own terms, a practice whose history and methods are rooted in, and are extensions of, everyday thinking (Miller 1987). The positivists inherited this distinction from Kant, but, unlike Kant, they rejected synthetic a priori truths. Moreover, scientists are getting better at doing this—consider improvements in microscopy over the past three centuries. Lewis, D. (1984). Fine reiterates the criticisms of §5d and §8: truth has properties that any epistemic truth-surrogate lacks. However, practice seems Janus-faced here: the history of modern physics is one of disunity leading to unity leading to disunity, and so forth. There is no referential or meaning continuity across paradigms; no sense can attach to theses like T* is more true than T, T is a limiting case of T*; or T* preserves all T’s true observational consequences, since such theses presuppose T-T* commensurability. Premise 2a: For Putnam the distinction between realism and idealism is fundamentally semantic. Two features of this theory of meaning lay groundwork for later discussion. Kantians think that physical space must be Euclidean because only Euclidean geometry is consistent with the form of our sensibility. Carnap, R. (1936), “Testability and Meaning”, Philosophy of Science 3, 419-471. 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. CE5 acknowledges that there is instrumental progress without trying to explain it. Any of these strategies must meet two further challenges, emphasized in (Stanford 2003a, 2003b). Oxford: Clarendon Press. SR4 Theories are literally true (when they are) partly because their concepts “latch on to” or correspond to real properties (natural kinds, and the like) that causally underpin successful usage of the concepts. 0. Moreover, the connection between empirical equivalence (agreement about observables in the sense of §6a) and evidential support is questionable (Laudan and Leplin 1991). (1987), Truthlikeness. Realists think physical space has some determinate geometrical character even if we cannot discover what character it has. This gives an intuitively plausible reading of the Twin-Earth scenario: Oscar is talking about water (H2O) and Twin-Oscar is talking about Twin-water (XYZ). Boyd, R. (1983), “On the Current Status of the Issue of Scientific Realism”, Erkenntnis, 19, 45–90. Friedman, M. (1999), Reconsidering Logical Positivism. A consistent constructive empiricist will have trouble letting science determine what is unobservable and using that determination to guide her epistemic policy—often she will not know what not to believe. SR realists add substantive word-world correspondences, a policy that serves no useful purpose. Conclusion. Hempel, C. G. (1965), Aspects of Scientific Explanation. The Realism vs. Anti-Realism Debate The mid-1980's saw a transformation of the debate over "scientific rationality" which had been unleashed by Kuhn's perceived challenge to the traditional claim that scientific belief is determined by evidence and reasoning. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Stanford proposes a new instrumentalism. By default, clicking on the export buttons will result in a download of the allowed maximum amount of items. Moreover, Cartwright arguably conflates different kinds of laws: in classical settings, the fundamental laws are Newton’s laws of motion, and his F = ma is the super-law that combines Newton’s gravitational and Coulomb’s electrostatic laws (Wilson 1998). Our question is this: Is scientific realism an adequate way to think about science or does some form of antirealism make more sense? Suppose that realism and antirealism are defined as the views, respectively, that successful theories are true and empirically adequate.10 10 Extensional realists (Park, 2016a): 47 believe that a scientific theory is true, once they think that scientists’ arguments for it are strong—see Seungbae Park, “Extensional. By contrast, realist truth and reference are trans-theoretic: once “electron” was introduced into the language by Stoney, it causally “locked onto” the property being an electron; then the various theorists were talking about that entity and making new discoveries about it. Arguing that there is no fact of the matter about the geometry of physical space. Newtonian action-at-a-distance forces also came under pressure with the increasing acceptance of Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, which attributed electromagnetic phenomena to polarizations in a dielectric medium propagated by contiguous action. Dordrecht: Reidel. Putnam, H. (1975c), Philosophical Papers 1: Mathematics, Matter and Method. The amount of items that can be exported at once is similarly restricted as the full export. Euclidean geometry has a unique parallels axiom and angle sum of triangles equals 180º, whereas, for example, spherical geometry has a zero-parallel axiom and angle sum of triangles greater than or equal to 180º. For EStR to be a realist position, it will not suffice to say: we can know only observable objects (like Obama) and their (observable) structural relations; we must be agnostic about unobservable objects and their relations. (1996/1986), The Shaky Game. Conversely, if meaning does determine extension, then since the extension of “water” (on Earth) is the extension of “water” (on Twin-Earth), Oscar and Twin-Oscar must associate different meanings with the term. Similarly, realists claim that scientific progress is best explained by SR5, the thesis that science is converging on a true account of the world. The history of science shows more continuity and fewer radical revolutions than this account attributes to it. (2015), ““Atoms Exist” is Probably True, and Other Facts That Should Not Comfort Scientific Realists”, Journal of Philosophy 112 (8), 397-416 . Suppose Gauss’s experiment gave the angle-sum of a triangle as 180º. Cartwright, N. (1983), How the Laws of Physics Lie. Scientists make rational choices between “paradigms” (for example, most scientists who were skeptical of atoms came to reasonably believe in them as a result of Perrin’s experiments). Thus, one can be a (local) realist about some areas of science, but a (local) anti-realist about other areas of science. Consequently, the explanatory success of fundamental laws cannot be cited as evidence for their truth. Chakravartty, A. How do you think the roles of a case manager have changed with time? P Wiener, intro. Traditionally, scientific realism asserts that the objects of scientific knowledge exist independently of the minds or acts of scientists and that scientific theories are true of that objective (mind-independent) world. etc. Premise 1 presupposes that all and only what a theory says or implies about observables is evidentially relevant to that theory. 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. CE5 The progress of science produces increasing empirical adequacy. Hardin, C. and A. Rosenburg. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author. Apr 25, 2020 - philosophy-in-figures: “scientific realism vs anti-realism ” Like van Fraassen’s (§6), his instrumentalism is epistemic: it distinguishes claims we ought literally to believe from claims we ought only to accept as instrumentally reliable and argues that instrumental acceptance suffices to account for scientific practice. Stanford, P.K. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. She begins by challenging the first two components: there is a trade-off between facticity and explanatory power. The basic equations of Newton, Maxwell, Einstein (STR/GTR), quantum mechanics, relativistic quantum mechanics, and so forth, are typical examples of such laws. Nowadays the positivists are often depicted as reactionaries who developed a crude, ahistorical philosophical viewpoint with pernicious consequences (Kuhn 1970, Kitcher 1993). We now see why SR is committed to SR3 and SR4 above. The Aim of Science: Causal Explanation or Abstract Representation? More strongly, Harman (1965) argues that IBE is needed to warrant straight enumerative induction: we are entitled to make the induction from “All observed As are Bs” to “All As are Bs” only if “All As are Bs” provides the best explanation of our total evidence. Second, there is ontological structural realism (OStR), advocated by Ladyman and others (Ladyman and Ross 2007) and similar to Quine’s realism (§4). Putnam, H. (2015), “Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity”, Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1(2), 312-328. In this way realists can appeal to them to argue that T* extends and improves upon T. However, for many T-T* sequences there are no analogous limit theorems: Lavoisier’s oxygen theory is a progressive successor of Priestley’s phlogiston theory, yet there is no neat mathematical relationship indicating that phlogiston theory is a limiting case of oxygen theory. More generally, 17th century protagonists of the new sciences advocated a metaphysical picture: nature is not what it appears to our senses—it is a world of objects (Descartes’ matter-extension, Boyle’s corpuscles, Huygens’ atoms, and so forth) whose primary properties (Cartesian extension, or the sizes, shapes, and hardness of atoms and corpuscles, and/or forces of attraction or repulsion, and so forth) are causally responsible for the phenomena we observe. The aim of science is: economy of thought (science is a useful instrument without literal significance (Mach 1893)), the discovery of real relations between hidden entities underlying the phenomena (Poincaré 1913), and the discovery of a “natural classification” of the phenomena (a mathematical organization of the phenomena that is the reflection of a hidden ontological order (Duhem 1991)). 2 This widely held impression is confirmed by the recent increase in the number of publications dealing with structural realism. Scientific Realism vs. Anti-Realism; Need Respnse to below discussion assignment November 12, 2020. CE claims that we ought to believe what science tells us about all observables (both observed and unobserved) but not about unobservables. Suppose the year is 1740 when speakers did not know that water is H2O. Theories are literally true (when they are) partly because their concepts “latch on to” or correspond to real properties (natural kinds, and the like) that causally underpin successful usage of the concepts. I try to show that their critiques of inference to the best explanation backfire on van Fraassen's positive philosophical theories, such as the contextual theory of explanation and constructive empiricism. Many thought that physics had become a disorganized patchwork of poorly understood theories, lacking coherence, unity, empirical determinacy, and adequate foundations. Horwich, P. (1990), Truth. Stanford, P. K. (2001), “Refusing the Devil’s Bargain: What Kind of Underdetermination Should We Take Seriously?”, Philosophy of Science 68 (3), S1-S12. But if the facticity and explanatory components clash in this way, the third component is in trouble also. Putnam develops a causal-historical account of reference for natural kind terms (“water”) and physical magnitude terms (“temperature”). Moreover, quantum mechanics, despite its empirical success, led to its own problems, since quantum particles have strange properties—they cannot have both determinate position and momentum at a given time, for example—and the quantum world has no unproblematic interpretation. Thus CE can agree with SR that at most one of T, T’ can be true and to be a realist about that theory is to believe it is true (SR2). There is no paradigm-independent reason for preferring P* over P, since such reasons would have to appeal to something common (common observations, methods, or norms), and they share no commonality. It should be noted that the distinction, as he draws it, has no a priori ontological implications: flying horses are observable but do not exist; electrons may exist but are unobservable. 6, 251-259, London: Routledge. We thus have good inductive reasons to believe we are now in the same predicament—our current best theories will be replaced by incompatible and currently unconceived successors that account for all the currently available evidence. The success-by-design explanation does not seem right, since scientists often construct theories that make completely unexpected, novel predictions. 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. The no-miracle argument for the view holds that approximate truth and reference provide the best explanation of the success of science. The caveat “if there is one” blocks inferences to the best of a bad lot: the best explanation may not reach a minimally acceptable threshold. (1980), The Scientific Image. But there is always the option of declining to choose, of remaining agnostic. As Putnam says, realism is the only hypothesis that does not make the success of science a miracle. The problem is not how to extend our epistemic and semantic grasp to objects separated from us by a metaphysical chasm; it is the more ordinary, scientific problem of how to extend our grasp from nearby middle-sized objects with moderate energies to objects that are very large, very small, very distant from us spatiotemporally, and so forth. (Kuhn thinks that clean views of history come from focusing too much on normal science.) Advocates of this “divide and conquer” strategy (Psillos 1999) try to have their cake and eat it too. ‘Putnam’s Paradox’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62: 221-236. Second, pessimistic inducers argue that successful current theories will follow the fate of successful past theories which turned out to be completely false. 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. Such theory pairs agree in what they say about observables but may disagree in what they say about unobservables. In fact, science is a self-interpreting practice that needs no philosophical interpretation. There are rival explanations that are compatible with CE, and some of them are more plausible than realism. Critics argue that there is no sharp, epistemologically significant distinction between form (structure) and content (nature) of the kind needed for EStR. Each time distinct fundamental laws resist combination, a new unifying theory emerges that combines them: electrodynamics and eventually Einstein’s theories succeeded in combining Newton and Coulomb forces. Our beliefs about electrons could be mistaken, but not our belief that “electron” applies to electrons. (ii) The conjunction objection: in practice we conjoin theories we accept. But structure alone (without auxiliary hypotheses describing non-structural features of the world) never suffices to derive new empirical content. Wilson, M. (2006), Wandering Significance. Poincaré and the positivists reply that it is conventional or analytic that space is Euclidean; there is no fact of the matter. Friedman (1999) offers a different Kantian interpretation: their project provides objective content for science, as Kant had attempted, by showing how it organizes our experience into a structured world of objects, but without commitment to scientifically outdated aspects of Kant’s apparatus, such as synthetic a priori truths or the necessity of Euclidean geometry. Pragmatists also tend to supplement Tarski’s understanding of truth, like philosophers in a broadly idealist tradition (including Hume, Kant, the positivists, and Kuhn) who employ truth-surrogates that structure the “world” side of the correspondence relation in some way (impressions, sense data, phenomena, a structured given) that would render the correspondence intelligible. Since CE recommends agnosticism about unobservables but permits belief about observables, the policy requires an epistemologically principled distinction between the two. More generally, 17thcentury protagonists of the new sciences advocated a metaphysical picture: nature is not what it appears to our senses—it is a world of objects (Descartes’ matter-extension, Boyle’s corpuscles, Huygens’ atoms, and s… Truth versus Empirical Adequacy. (1928), “Mr. Their separation into realists and antirealists is complicated, but Helmholtz, Hertz, Kelvin, Maxwell, and Planck had realist sympathies and Duhem, Mach, and Poincaré had antirealist doubts. For CE there can be no epistemic reason to believe one over the other, though there may be pragmatic reasons to accept (commit to using) one over the other. Take “electron” in Thomson’s 1898 theory, in Bohr’s 1911 theory, and in full quantum theory (late 1920s). For empiricists, cumulativeness requires at least that T* have more true (and perhaps less false) observational consequences than T. Since the content of a theory on logical positivists’ views is exhausted by its observational consequences, if T* has more true observational consequences than T, then T* is “more true than” T. However, SR-realists require more. Stanford, P.K. Despite best efforts, no satisfactory metric has emerged that would characterize distance from the truth or the truth-distance between T and T* (Laudan 1981; Miller 1974; Niiniluoto 1987). Objects and properties, according to IR3, are as much made as discovered. CE2 To accept a theory is to believe it is empirically adequate, but acceptance has further non-epistemic/pragmatic features. Deflationists argue that such “thin” concepts and trivial relations cannot bear the explanatory burdens that scientific realists expect of them. Bellarmine advocated an antirealist interpretation of Copernicus’s heliocentrism—as a useful instrument that saved the phenomena—whereas Galileo advocated a realist interpretation—the planets really do orbit the sun. For van Fraassen, a theory’s explanatory virtues (simplicity, unity, convenience of expression, power) are pragmatic—a function of its relationship to its users. To understand “No emerald is blue” one need only know the verification conditions for “This is an emerald”, “This is blue” and the logical relations of such sentences to “No emerald is blue” (for example, that “no emerald is blue” implies “if this is an emerald, then this is not blue”, and so forth). Laudan, L. and J. Leplin. Realists cannot appeal to IBE to justify belief in factive fundamental covering laws because good explanations that cover a host of phenomena rarely proceed from true (factive) laws. The former are retained in later theories; the latter are not. | Tucson, AZ 85721-0055. Once one accepts that science delivers truths and explanations, it is natural to ask what that means, and realist and antirealist replies will naturally ensue—as they always have, since these interpretations are as old as philosophy itself. The fact that a theory satisfies our pragmatic desiderata has no implications for its being true or empirically adequate, contrary to what IBE-realists maintain. ). Contemporary proponents, beginning with Worrall (1989), hold that structuralism steers a middle path between standard versions of scientific realism and antirealism. Structuralism is not new: precursors include Poincaré and Duhem in the 19th century (§2c), Russell (1927), Ramseyfied-theory versions of logical positivism (§3b), Quine (§4), and Maxwell (1970). Then, on Putnam’s view, the extension of the term is part of the meaning of the term, the kind or magnitude that the term “locked on to” in the course of its introduction and historical development. In other words, does science help us get in touch with the truth about reality or does science have some other function? More generally, Quine argued, once the explicit definitional route failed by Carnap’s allowing the meaning of “electron” to be a function of the totality of its logical connections within a theory, Carnap had already adopted meaning holism, according to which one cannot separate the analytic sentences, whose truth-values are determined by the contribution of language, from the synthetic sentences, whose truth-values are determined by the contribution of fact.
2020 scientific realism vs antirealism