Why Bachelard is not a scientific realist

Philosophical Forum 33 (2):159–172 (2002)


In recent years several philosophers have sought a defense for scientific realism in Bachelard's work. Two notable examples are Garry Gutting and Mary Tuiattas. This paper shows that such views are based on systematic miss-readings of some of Bachelard's main concepts. The main realist approach has been to show that Bachelard's idea of "phenomeno techniques" corresponds with Nacting's experimental realism. This paper corrects that thesis. In addition to correcting some readings of Bachelard, if this paper is correct, that approach to defending scientific realism is ruled out

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