Methodological realism and scientific rationality

Philosophy of Science 53 (1):31-51 (1986)
In response to recent recognition of the complexities of scientific change, discussion of the objectivity and the rationality of science has focused on criteria of theory choice. This paper addresses instead the rationality of scientific decisions at the level of ongoing research. It argues that whether or not a realist view of theories is compatible with the historical discontinuities of scientific change, certain realist assumptions are crucial to the rationality of research. The researcher must presume that questions about the existence and the properties of at least some of the "unobservable" entities he theorizes about or experiments on are answerable on the basis of his work. The rationale of research cannot be understood solely in terms of the desiderata of instrumental utility or the empirical adequacy of theories
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DOI 10.1086/289290
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Frans Gregersen & Simo Køppe (1988). Against Epistemological Relativism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (4):447-487.

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