The anti-philosophical stance, the realism question and scientific practice

Foundations of Science 11 (4):369-397 (2006)
In recent years a general consensus has been developing in the philosophy of science to the effect that strong social constructivist accounts are unable to adequately account for scientific practice. Recently, however, a number of commentators have formulated an attenuated version of constructivism that purports to avoid the difficulties that plague the stronger claims of its predecessors. Interestingly this attenuated form of constructivism finds philosophical support from a relatively recent turn in the literature concerning scientific realism. Arthur Fine and a number of other commentators have argued that the realism debate ought to be abandoned. The rationale for this argument is that the debate is sterile for it has, it is claimed, no consequence for actual scientific practice, and therefore does not advance our understanding of science or its practice. Recent “softer” accounts of social constructivism also hold a similar agnostic stance to the realism question. I provide a survey of these various agnostic stances and show how they form a general position that I shall refer to as “the anti-philosophical stance”. I then demonstrate that the anti-philosophical stance fails by identifying difficulties that attend its proposal to ban philosophical interpretation. I also provide examples of instances where philosophical stances to the realism question affect scientific practice.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Science   Mathematical Logic and Foundations   Methodology of the Social Sciences
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10699-005-3198-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,157
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Agnosticism as a Third Stance.Sven Rosenkranz - 2007 - Mind 116 (461):55-104.
Scientific Realism, Scientific Practice, and the Natural Ontological Attitude.André Kukla - 1994 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (4):955-975.
How to Be Realistic About Folk Psychology.George Graham & Terence E. Horgan - 1988 - Philosophical Psychology 1 (1):69-81.
Getting Ontologically Natural.Sami Pihlström - 1996 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 10 (3):247-256.
Platonism and Anti-Platonism: Why Worry?Mary Leng - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):65 – 84.
Recent Debates Over Structural Realism.Daniel McArthur - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):209 - 224.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

41 ( #126,899 of 2,171,972 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,556 of 2,171,972 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums