Scientific realism and the stratagema de divide et impera

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):537-560 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In response to historical challenges, advocates of a sophisticated variant of scientific realism emphasize that theoretical systems can be divided into numerous constituents. Setting aside any epistemic commitment to the systems themselves, they maintain that we can justifiably believe those specific constituents that are deployed in key successful predictions. Stathis Psillos articulates an explicit criterion for discerning exactly which theoretical constituents qualify. I critique Psillos's criterion in detail. I then test the more general deployment realist intuition against a set of well-known historical cases, whose significance has, I contend, been overlooked. I conclude that this sophisticated form of realism remains threatened by the historical argument that prompted it. A criterion for scientific realism Assessing the criterion A return to the crucial insight: responsibility A few case studies Assessing deployment realism.

Similar books and articles

A Critique of Localized Realism.Mohamed Elsamahi - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1350-1360.
Scientific Realism with a Humean Face.Stathis Psillos - 2011 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science. London: pp. 75-95.
Agnostic Empiricism Versus Scientific Realism: Belief in Truth Matters.Stathis Psillos - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (1):57 – 75.
Scientific Realism and the Indispensability Argument for Mathematical Realism: A Marriage Made in Hell.Jacob Busch - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (4):307-325.
Nonā€Competitor Conditions in the Scientific Realism Debate.Timothy D. Lyons - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):65-84.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
476 (#21,245)

6 months
40 (#27,447)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Timothy D. Lyons
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

Citations of this work

Structural Realism.James Ladyman - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
Truth-Seeking by Abduction.Ilkka Niiniluoto - 2018 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Scientific Realism.Richard Boyd - 1984 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 21 (1&2):767-791.
Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 62 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Collected Papers.Charles S. Peirce - 1931 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

View all 22 references / Add more references