A defence of informational structural realism

Synthese 161 (2):219-253 (2008)
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Abstract

This is the revised version of an invited keynote lecture delivered at the "1st Australian Computing and Philosophy Conference". The paper is divided into two parts. The first part defends an informational approach to structural realism. It does so in three steps. First, it is shown that, within the debate about structural realism, epistemic and ontic structural realism are reconcilable. It follows that a version of OSR is defensible from a structuralist-friendly position. Second, it is argued that a version of OSR is also plausible, because not all relata are logically prior to relations. Third, it is shown that a version of OSR is also applicable to both sub-observable and observable entities, by developing its ontology of structural objects in terms of informational objects. The outcome is informational structural realism, a version of OSR supporting the ontological commitment to a view of the world as the totality of informational objects dynamically interacting with each other. The paper has been discussed by several colleagues and, in the second half, ten objections that have been moved to the proposal are answered in order to clarify it further.

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Luciano Floridi
Oxford University

Citations of this work

The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History. Springer Verlag. pp. 27-52.
Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
The Modal Nature of Structures in Ontic Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):179 – 194.

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References found in this work

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.

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