Structural realism and abductive-transcendental arguments

In P. Kerszberg, J. Petitot & M. Bitbol (eds.), Constituting Objectivity. Transcendental Perspectives on Modern Physics (2009)
The paper deals with an attempt to present an “abductive-transcendental” argument in favour of a particular version of structural realism (SR), dubbed Intermediate SR. In the first part of the paper the general structure of transcendental arguments is scrutinized with a close view on Kant’s original version and the prospect of their abductive variation. Then the role of symmetries in modern physics, especially symmetries without real instantiations and in particular gauge symmetries is discussed. This is combined with a presentation of SR as a promising current version of scientific realism. The discussion is supported by various arguments form gauge theories in modern physics. Intermediate SR, a realist position about all and only structurally derivable entities located between the extremes of Epistemic and Ontic SR turns out as the best fit to our current fundamental gauge physics and this finally leads to an abductive-transcendental reasoning concerning this position.
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