Physics and commonsense


Abstract
Broadly stated, naïve realism is the attitude that the form of our outer experiences directly and literally correspond to the structure of the real world underlying these experiences. Naïve realism permeates our everyday thinking about, and ordinary language description of, the macroscopic world. It has undeniable pragmatic justification. However, as Descartes recognized centuries ago, philosophically speaking, naïve realism requires a justification. Physicists, nevertheless, simply assume naïve realism in interpreting the laboratory observations realistically. Thus, physicists do not find the philosophical issues surrounding the problem of naïve realism to be any of relevance to the development of physics per se. The problem of scientific realism is seen to arise in a different context, that of justifying the idea that our best theories in physics pragmatically succeed because its abstract entities provide a true glimpse of the external world under investigation.
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