Realism versus relativism in ethics

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):1 – 11 (1933)
Abstract
This article analyzes the central weaknesses of both relativism and traditional empiricism as overarching accounts of science appropriate for psychology. A third approach, a variant of scientific realism, is described and discussed, and it is argued that this approach avoids the most pernicious features of both relativism and empiricism. This version of scientific realism postulates that the rational structure of science is composed of four interlocked categories: aims, epistemic values, methodological rules, and theories. These categories are described, and the nature of the links between them is analyzed. Various other issues are discussed, including the nature of scientific debate, the extent to which psychology is different from other sciences, and whether scientific realism really avoids a relativist fate. In conclusion, scientific realism is a viable alternative account of scientific thought that is suitable for psychology
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DOI 10.1080/00048403308540991
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