David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Structural realism has various diverse manifestations. One of the things that structural realists of all stripes have in common is their endorsement of what I call 'the structural continuity claim'. Roughly, this is the idea that the structure of successful scientific theories survives theory change because it has latched on to the structure of the world. In this talk I elaborate, elucidate and modify the structural continuity claim and its associated argument. I do so without presupposing a particular conception of structure that favours this or that kind of structural realism but instead by concentrating on neutrally formulated historical facts. The result, I hope, throws light on what a structural realist must do to evidentially benefit from the historical record of science. The implicit argument underwriting the structural continuity claim can be reconstructed as follows: Premise (1) Only structural elements of predictively and explanatorily successful scientific theories have been (and will be) preserved through theory change. Premise (2): Preservation of an element implies or at least is good evidence for its (approximate) truth. Premise (3): Non-preservation of an element implies or at least is good evidence for its falsity. Conclusion: It is probably the case that only structural elements are (approximately) true. In this summary I restrict my comments to the first premise. Several points can be raised with respect to it. First, not all structures are created equal. Some play no active role in the predictive and explanatory success of a theory because they do not correspond to any structure in the world. Their non-preservation would therefore not encumber the structural realist. Traditional scientific realists have long employed a distinction between essential and idle posits to weed out those elements of theories that played no substantial role in their predictive and explanatory success..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Bryan W. Roberts (2011). Group Structural Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):47-69.
Daniel McArthur (2006). Recent Debates Over Structural Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 37 (2):209 - 224.
Gerald D. Doppelt (2011). From Standard Scientific Realism and Structural Realism to Best Current Theory Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 42 (2):295-316.
Chris Pincock (2011). Mathematical Structural Realism. In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism.
Ioannis Votsis, How Not to Be a Realist or Why We Ought to Make It Safe for Closet Structural Realists to Come Out.
Otávio Bueno (2008). Structural Realism, Scientific Change, and Partial Structures. Studia Logica 89 (2):213 - 235.
Ioannis Votsis (2011). Structural Realism: Continuity and its Limits. In. In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. 105--117.
Added to index2009-12-28
Total downloads40 ( #35,114 of 1,005,166 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,743 of 1,005,166 )
How can I increase my downloads?