The aim of this article is to offer a rejoinder to an argument against scientific realism put forward by van Fraassen, based on theoretical considerations regarding microphysics. At a certain stage of his general attack to scientific realism, van Fraassen argues, in contrast to what realists typically hold, that empirical regularities should sometimes be regarded as “brute facts”, which do not ask for explanation in terms of deeper, unobservable mechanisms. The argument from microphysics formulated by van Fraassen is based on the claim that in microphysics the demand for explanation leads to a demand for the so-called hidden-variable theories, which “runs contrary to at least one major school of thought in twentieth-century physics”. It is shown here that this argument does not represent an insurmountable obstacle to scientific realism, not even when a series of important theoretical and experimental results against hidden-variable theories — and not merely a conflict with a certain school of thought—is taken into account.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n1p49
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,304
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Holism in Microphysics.Silvio Seno Chibeni - 2004 - Epistemologia 27 (2):227-244.
Explanation and the Theory of Questions.Charles B. Cross - 1991 - Erkenntnis 34 (2):237 - 260.
The Explanationist Argument for Moral Realism.Neil Sinclair - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):1-24.
How Not to Enhance the Indispensability Argument.Russell Marcus - 2014 - Philosophia Mathematica 22 (3):345-360.
Mathematics and Program Explanations.Juha Saatsi - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):579-584.
Discussion. Idealizations, Competence and Explanation: A Response to Patterson.B. Franks - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (4):735-746.


Added to PP index

Total views
8 ( #905,497 of 2,330,100 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #583,587 of 2,330,100 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes