Piecemeal realism

Philosophical Studies 61 (1-2):79 - 96 (1991)
Faced with realist-resistant sciences and the no-nonsense attitude of the times realism has moved away from the rather grandiose program that had traditionally been characteristic of its school. The objective of the shift seems to be to protect some doctrine still worthy of the "realist" name. The strategy is to relocate the school to where conditions seem optimal for its defense, and then to insinuate that the case for such a " piecemeal realism" could be made elsewhere too, were there but world enough and time. The burden of this paper is to examine this piecemeal approach and to show why, despite the relocation, it cannot escape the difficulties of its grander cousins. For that purpose I begin with some brief historical reminders, and with a quick review of the state of the argument before realism went to pieces. This will help us see what has been abandoned in realism's flight, and what baggage still remains
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DOI 10.1007/BF00385834
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