The Monist 94 (2):157-180 (2011)
AbstractScientific 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 – plausible in conceding the force of sceptical arguments to the effect that there is no one correct way to carve nature at its joints, but realist in proposing an objective basis for carving nonetheless. Walking this line between implausible realism and full-blown constructivism leads down the path of three forms of relativism or pluralism: one concerning the ways in which scientists “package” properties into entities; another concerning the precise metaphysical natures of these entities; and another concerning the context relativity of their behaviour
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References found in this work
The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science.John Dupré - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable.Anjan Chakravartty - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.