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Profile: Anjan Chakravartty (University of Notre Dame)
  1. Anjan Chakravartty, Critical Notices.
    In the wake of proclamations of the death of scientific realism, the past few years have witnessed several book-length resurrections. Like the undead, realism i s proving hard to finish off once and for all. In the preface to his book, Ilkka Niiniluoto suggests that the realism debate will never generate a consensus; it is an eternal problem of philosophy. Certainly, since the flourishing of work on the subject two decades ago, it has become clear that some disputes between realists (...)
     
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  2. Anjan Chakravartty, Getting Real with Quanta.
    The interpretation of quantum mechanics has always been a pain in the backside of scientific realism. Throughout its history, various anti-realist doctrines have dominated, associated with such luminaries as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and referred to collectively as ‘the Copenhagen interpretation’. The voice of realist dissent was thus marginalized, but never silenced. In recent years, renewed interest has attached to the possibility of a realist interpretation of quantum theory. Christopher Norris’ book is an effort in this tradition.
     
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  3. Anjan Chakravartty, Ontological Priority: The Conceptual Basis of Non-Eliminative, Ontic Structural Realism.
    The number of positions identified with structural realism in philosophical debates about scientific knowledge has grown significantly in the past decade, particularly with respect to the metaphysical or ‘ontic’ approach (OSR). In recent years, several advocates of OSR have proposed a novel understanding of it in order to side-step a serious challenge faced by its original formulation, eliminative OSR. I examine the conceptual basis of the new, noneliminative view, and conclude that it too faces a serious challenge, resulting in a (...)
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  4. Anjan Chakravartty (2013). 1. A Slippery Slope. In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. 27.
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  5. Anjan Chakravartty (2013). Naturalized Metaphysics. In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. 27.
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  6. Anjan Chakravartty (2013). Realism in the Desert and in the Jungle: Reply to French, Ghins, and Psillos. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 78 (1):39 - 58.
    A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable has two primary aims. The first is to extract the most promising refinements of the idea of scientific realism to emerge in recent decades and assemble them into a maximally defensible realist position, semirealism. The second is to demonstrate that, contra antirealist scepticism to the contrary, key concepts typically invoked by realists in expounding their views can be given a coherent and unified explication. These concepts include notions of causation, laws of nature, (...)
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  7. Anjan Chakravartty (2013). Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum Getting Causes From Powers. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axt007.
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  8. Anjan Chakravartty, Scientific Realism. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  9. Anjan Chakravartty (2011). A Puzzle About Voluntarism About Rational Epistemic Stances. Synthese 178 (1):37 - 48.
    The philosophy of science has produced numerous accounts of how scientific facts are generated, from very specific facilitators of belief, such as neo-Kantian constitutive principles, to global frameworks, such as Kuhnian paradigms. I consider a recent addition to this canon: van Fraassen's notion of an epistemic stance— a collection of attitudes and policies governing the generation of factual beliefs— and his commitment to voluntarism in this context: the idea that contrary stances and sets of beliefs are rationally permissible. I argue (...)
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  10. Anjan Chakravartty (2011). Scientific Realism and Ontological Relativity. The Monist 94 (2):157-180.
    Scientific realism has three dimensions: a metaphysical commitment to the existence of a mind-independent world; a semantic commitment to a literal interpretation of scientific claims; and an epistemological commitment to scientific knowledge of both observable and unobservable entities. The semantic dimension is uncontroversial, and the epistemological dimension, though contested, is well articulated in a number of ways. The metaphysical dimension, however, is not even well articulated. In this paper, I elaborate a plausible understanding of mind independence for the realist – (...)
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  11. Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Explanation, Inference, Testimony, and Truth: Essays Dedicated to the Memory of Peter Lipton. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):335-336.
  12. Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Metaphysics Between the Sciences and Philosophies of Science. In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Subsequent to the transition from the era of natural philosophy to what we now regard as the era of the modern sciences, the latter have often been described as independent of the major philosophical preoccupations that previously informed theorizing about the natural world. The extent to which this is a naïve description is a matter of debate, and in particular, views of the place of metaphysics in the interpretation of modern scientific knowledge have varied enormously. Logical positivism spawned a distaste (...)
     
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  13. Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Perspectivism, Inconsistent Models, and Contrastive Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):405-412.
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  14. Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Review of Brian Ellis, The Metaphysics of Scientific Realism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (7).
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  15. Anjan Chakravartty (2009). Making a Metaphysics for Nature. Metascience 18 (1):75-79.
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  16. Anjan Chakravartty (2008). What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149 - 158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  17. Arthur Fine, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Anjan Chakravartty (2008). Author-Meets-Critics: Exceeding Our Grasp by Kyle Stanford. Philosophical Studies 137 (1).
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  18. Anjan Chakravartty (2007). A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable. Cambridge University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising recent strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core (...)
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  19. Anjan Chakravartty, Truth and Representation in Science: Two Inspirations From Art.
    Realists regarding scientific knowledge – those who think that our best scientific representations truly describe both observable and unobservable aspects of the natural world – have special need of a notion of approximate truth. Since theories and models are rarely considered true simpliciter, the realist requires some means of making sense of the claim that they may be false and yet close to the truth, and increasingly so over time. In this paper, I suggest that traditional approaches to approximate truth (...)
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  20. Anjan Chakravartty (2005). Causal Realism: Events and Processes. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 63 (1):7 - 31.
    Minimally, causal realism (as understood here) is the view that accounts of causation in terms of mere, regular or probabilistic conjunction are unsatisfactory, and that causal phenomena are correctly associated with some form of de re necessity. Classic arguments, however, some of which date back to Sextus Empiricus and have appeared many times since, including famously in Russell, suggest that the very notion of causal realism is incoherent. In this paper I argue that if such objections seem compelling, it is (...)
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  21. Anjan Chakravartty (2004). Critical Scientific Realism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):227-229.
  22. Anjan Chakravartty (2004). Structuralism as a Form of Scientific Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):151 – 171.
    Structural realism has recently re-entered mainstream discussions in the philosophy of science. The central notion of structure, however, is contested by both advocates and critics. This paper briefly reviews currently prominent structuralist accounts en route to proposing a metaphysics of structure that is capable of supporting the epistemic aspirations of realists, and that is immune to the charge most commonly levelled against structuralism. This account provides an alternative to the existing epistemic and ontic forms of the position, incorporating elements of (...)
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  23. Anjan Chakravartty (2004). Stance Relativism: Empiricism Versus Metaphysics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):173-184.
    In The empirical stance, Bas van Fraassen argues for a reconceptualization of empiricism, and a rejection of its traditional rival, speculative metaphysics, as part of a larger and provocative study in epistemology. Central to his account is the notion of voluntarism in epistemology, and a concomitant understanding of the nature of rationality. In this paper I give a critical assessment of these ideas, with the ultimate goal of clarifying the nature of debate between metaphysicians and empiricists, and more specifically, between (...)
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  24. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). Review of The Reality of the Unobservable. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54.
    There is perhaps no more succinct a way of describing the controversy between scientific realists and antirealists than to say that it turns on the reality of the unobservable. Less concisely, it turns on whether we have reason to think that scientific theories tell us the truth (or something close to it) about some of the underlying, unobservable bits of a mind-independent, external reality, among other things. Claims to knowledge of such a reality have traditionally been a bone of contention (...)
     
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  25. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
    One view of the nature of properties has been crystallized in recent debate by an identity thesis proposed by Shoemaker. The general idea is that there is for behaviour. Well-known criticisms of this approach, however, remain unanswered, and the details of its connections to laws nothing more to being a particular causal property than conferring certain dispositions of nature and the precise ontology of causal properties stand in need of development. This paper examines and defends a dispositional essentialist account of (...)
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  26. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Dappled World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):244-247.
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  27. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Reality of the Unobservable: Observability, Unobservability and Their Impact on the Issue of Scientific Realism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):359-363.
  28. Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Structuralist Conception of Objects. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):867-878.
    This paper explores the consequences of the two most prominent forms of contemporary structural realism for the notion of objecthood. Epistemic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, but nothing about the natures of unobservable relata whose relations define structures. Ontic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, and that there is nothing else to know—objects are useful heuristic posits, but are ultimately ontologically dispensable. I argue that structuralism does not succeed in ridding a (...)
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  29. Sandra D. Mitchell, Anjan Chakravartty, Ioannis Votsis, Timothy D. Lyons, Hasok Chang, P. Kyle Stanford, Justin Garson, Uljana Feest, Andrea Scarantino & Xiang Chen (2003). 1. Preface Preface (P. Vii). Philosophy of Science 70 (5).
     
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  30. Anjan Chakravartty (2001). The Semantic or Model-Theoretic View of Theories and Scientific Realism. Synthese 127 (3):325 - 345.
    The semantic view of theoriesis one according to which theoriesare construed as models of their linguisticformulations. The implications of thisview for scientific realism have been little discussed. Contraryto the suggestion of various champions of the semantic view,it is argued that this approach does not makesupport for a plausible scientific realism anyless problematic than it might otherwise be.Though a degree of independence of theory fromlanguage may ensure safety frompitfalls associated with logical empiricism, realism cannot be entertained unless models or (abstractedand/or idealized) (...)
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  31. Anjan Chakravartty (1998). Semirealism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):391-408.
    The intuition of the naı¨ve realist, miracle arguments notwithstanding, is countered forcefully by a host of considerations, including the possibility of underdetermination, and criticisms of abductive inferences to explanatory hypotheses. Some have suggested that an induction may be performed, from the perspective of present theories, on their predecessors. Past theories are thought to be false, strictly speaking; it is thus likely that present-day theories are also false, and will be taken as such at an appropriate future time.
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