David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (3):247-256 (1996)
Abstract It is argued that Arthur Fine's ?natural ontological attitude? (NOA), i.e., the view that science should not be philosophically (either realistically or anti?realistically) interpreted at all but should rather be allowed to ?speak for itself?, is seriously problematic, even though it contains deep insights which philosophers of science should take into account. In particular, Fine succeeds in showing that no non?question?begging, conclusive demonstration of scientific realism (e.g., on ?explanationist? grounds) is possible. But this is not a threat to scientific realism, if realism is subordinated to pragmatism. From the pragmatic point of view, the demand for a non?circular proof of scientific realism is mistaken. Rather, realism can be seen as our natural attitude, based on our practices, scientific and otherwise. Fine's NOA turns out to be, on a charitable reading, quite close to a version of pragmatic realism. The paper concludes by briefly examining the idea of regarding realism as a ?narrative explanation? of science
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