How to Remain (Reasonably) Optimistic: Scientific Realism and the "Luminiferous Ether"

Fresnel's theory of light was (a) impressively predictively successful yet (b) was based on an "entity" (the elastic-solid ether) that we now "know" does not exist. Does this case "confute" scientific realism as Laudan suggested? Previous attempts (by Hardin and Rosenberg and by Kitcher) to defuse the episode's anti-realist impact. The strongest form of realism compatible with this case of theory-rejection is in fact structural realism. This view was developed by Poincare who also provided reasons to think that it is the only realist view of theories that really makes sense.
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DOI 10.2307/193038
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