Is structural realism the best of both worlds?

Dialectica 49 (1):15-46 (1995)
In a recent series of papers, John Worrall has defended and elaborated a philosophical position – traced back to Poincaré– which he calls structural realism. This view stands in between scientific realism and agnostic instrumentalism and intends to accommodate both the intuitions that underwrite the ‘no miracles’ argument for scientific realism and the existence of scientific revolutions which lead to radical theoretical changes. Structural realism presents itself as the best of both worlds. In this paper I critically examine the epistemic status of structural realism, and argue that it is not the best of both worlds. Yet, I stress that it reveals an insight which, properly understood, can cast new light on the debates over scientific realism
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J. Ladyman (1998). What is Structural Realism? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
Jamin Asay (2013). Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
Anjan Chakravartty (1998). Semirealism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):391-408.

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