Scientific Realism

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011)

Abstract

Debates about scientific realism are closely connected to almost everything else in the philosophy of science, for they concern the very nature of scientific knowledge. Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude toward the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences. This epistemic attitude has important metaphysical and semantic dimensions, and these various commitments are contested by a number of rival epistemologies of science, known collectively as forms of scientific antirealism. This article explains what scientific realism is, outlines its main variants, considers the most common arguments for and against the position, and contrasts it with its most important antirealist counterparts.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-06-11

Downloads
21 (#540,244)

6 months
4 (#162,539)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

View all 193 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Scientific Progress: Four Accounts.Finnur Dellsén - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12525.
Folk Psychology and the Bayesian Brain.Joe Dewhurst - 2017 - In Thomas Metzinger & Wanja Wiese (eds.), Philosophy and Predictive Processing. Frankfurt am Main: MIND Group.
Optimistic Realism Over Selectivism.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):89-106.

View all 73 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Scientific Realism.Anjann D. Chakravartty - 2013 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Scientific Realism and Antirealism.Michael Liston - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Scientific Realism and Antirealism.Liston Michael - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Realism: Metaphysical, Scientific, and Semantic.Panu Raatikainen - 2014 - In Kenneth R. Westphal (ed.), Realism, Science, and Pragmatism. Routledge. pp. 139-158.
Dispositions for Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - In Ruth Groff & John Greco (eds.), Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism. New York, NY, USA: pp. 113-127.
What is Scientific Realism?Anjan Chakravartty & Bas C. van Fraassen - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):12-25.
Does Scientific Realism Matter?Carl Alan Matheson - 1986 - Dissertation, Syracuse University
Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence.Howard Sankey - 2001 - Theoria A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
Semantic Challenges to Scientific Realism.Holger Andreas - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):17 - 31.