On the preferability of epistemic structural realism

Synthese 142 (1):81--107 (2004)
In the last decade, structural realism has been presented as the most promising strategy for developing a defensible realist view of science. Nevertheless, controversy still continues in relation to the exact meaning of the proposed structuralism. The stronger version of structural realism, the so-called ontic structural realism, has been argued for on the basis of some ideas related to quantum mechanics. In this paper, I will first outline these arguments, mainly developed by Steven French and James Ladyman, then challenge them, putting a particular emphasis on a metaphysical principle (the Principle of the Identity of the Indiscernibles) which, even though it is crucial for the whole argument, hasn''t been, in my opinion, clearly stated and examined yet. My overall view will be that a weaker version of the form of realism we are considering is more plausible – namely, epistemic structural realism.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.1023/B:SYNT.0000047712.39407.c3
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