Realism and underdetermination: Some clues from the practices-up

Recent attempts to turn Standard Quantum Theory into a coherent representational system have improved markedly over previous offerings. Important questions about the nature of material systems remain open, however, as current theorizing effectively resolves into a multiplicity of incompatible statements about the nature of physical systems. Specifically, the most cogent proposals to date land in effective empirical equivalence, reviving old anti-realist fears about quantum physics. In this paper such fears are discussed and found unsound. It is argued that nothing of global skeptical or agnostic significance follows from the kind of underdetermination presently encountered in fundamental quantum theory. The case is instructive, however, for what it shows about the characteristics and prospects of scientific realism as a perspective in contemporary philosophy of science
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