Scientific realism: The new debates

Philosophy of Science 46 (4):501-532 (1979)
In place of earlier instrumentalist and phenomenalist interpretations of science both Quine and Sellars have developed highly influential realist positions centering around the doctrine that accepting a theory as explanatory and irreducible rationally entails accepting the entities posited by the theory. A growing reaction against this realism is partially based on perceived inadequacies in the doctrines of Quine and Sellars, but even more on reconstructions of scientific explanations which do not involve such ontic commitments. Three types of anti-realistic positions are considered and criticized. Hesse's neo-Duhemian position couples a statistical theory of inference to a downgrading of purely theoretical statements. Sneed uses the method of axiomatrization through set-theoretic predicates to supply a reconstruction of Kuhn's account of scientific development. Here Ramsey-reduction sentences serve to eliminate purely theoretical terms. The longest section deals with van Fraassen's semantic model based on a state-space representation of scientific theories and the use of this model in interpreting quantum mechanics. It is argued that the model is valuable, but that the anti-realist interpretation accorded it is not justified and entails serious inconsistencies
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/288894
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
James T. Cushing (1982). A Response. Synthese 50 (1):109 - 123.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Paul Faulkner (2004). Relativism and Our Warrant for Scientific Theories. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (3):259 – 269.
Pierre Cruse (2004). Scientific Realism, Ramsey Sentences and the Reference of Theoretical Terms. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):133 – 149.
Jeffrey Ketland (2004). Empirical Adequacy and Ramsification. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):287-300.
Jeffrey Ketland (2004). Empirical Adequacy and Ramsification. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):287-300.
Sam Mitchell (1988). Constructive Empiricism and Anti-Realism. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:174 - 180.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

131 ( #18,967 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

119 ( #6,743 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.