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Anjan Chakravartty
University of Miami
  1. A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable.Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.
    Scientific realism is the view that our best scientific theories give approximately true descriptions of both observable and unobservable aspects of a mind-independent world. Debates between realists and their critics are at the very heart of the philosophy of science. Anjan Chakravartty traces the contemporary evolution of realism by examining the most promising strategies adopted by its proponents in response to the forceful challenges of antirealist sceptics, resulting in a positive proposal for scientific realism today. He examines the core principles (...)
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  2. Semirealism.Anjan Chakravartty - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):391-408.
    The intuition of the naı¨ve realist, miracle arguments notwithstanding, is countered forcefully by a host of considerations, including the possibility of underdetermination, and criticisms of abductive inferences to explanatory hypotheses. Some have suggested that an induction may be performed, from the perspective of present theories, on their predecessors. Past theories are thought to be false, strictly speaking; it is thus likely that present-day theories are also false, and will be taken as such at an appropriate future time.
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  3. Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  4. The Semantic or Model-Theoretic View of Theories and Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2001 - Synthese 127 (3):325-345.
    The semantic view of theories is one according to which theories are construed as models of their linguistic formulations. The implications of this view for scientific realism have been little discussed. Contrary to the suggestion of various champions of the semantic view, it is argued that this approach does not make support for a plausible scientific realism any less problematic than it might otherwise be. Though a degree of independence of theory from language may ensure safety from pitfalls associated with (...)
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  5. Informational Versus Functional Theories of Scientific Representation.Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - Synthese 172 (2):197-213.
    Recent work in the philosophy of science has generated an apparent conflict between theories attempting to explicate the nature of scientific representation. On one side, there are what one might call 'informational' views, which emphasize objective relations (such as similarity, isomorphism, and homomorphism) between representations (theories, models, simulations, diagrams, etc.) and their target systems. On the other side, there are what one might call 'functional' views, which emphasize cognitive activities performed in connection with these targets, such as interpretation and inference. (...)
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  6. Stance Relativism: Empiricism Versus Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Anjan Chakravartty - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):173-184.
    In The empirical stance, Bas van Fraassen argues for a reconceptualization of empiricism, and a rejection of its traditional rival, speculative metaphysics, as part of a larger and provocative study in epistemology. Central to his account is the notion of voluntarism in epistemology, and a concomitant understanding of the nature of rationality. In this paper I give a critical assessment of these ideas, with the ultimate goal of clarifying the nature of debate between metaphysicians and empiricists, and more specifically, between (...)
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  7. The Structuralist Conception of Objects.Anjan Chakravartty - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):867-878.
    This paper explores the consequences of the two most prominent forms of contemporary structural realism for the notion of objecthood. Epistemic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, but nothing about the natures of unobservable relata whose relations define structures. Ontic structuralists hold that we can know structural aspects of reality, and that there is nothing else to know—objects are useful heuristic posits, but are ultimately ontologically dispensable. I argue that structuralism does not succeed in ridding a (...)
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  8. What You Don’T Know Can’T Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived.Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149-158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  9.  96
    A Puzzle About Voluntarism About Rational Epistemic Stances.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - Synthese 178 (1):37-48.
    The philosophy of science has produced numerous accounts of how scientific facts are generated, from very specific facilitators of belief, such as neo-Kantian constitutive principles, to global frameworks, such as Kuhnian paradigms. I consider a recent addition to this canon: van Fraassen's notion of an epistemic stance— a collection of attitudes and policies governing the generation of factual beliefs— and his commitment to voluntarism in this context: the idea that contrary stances and sets of beliefs are rationally permissible. I argue (...)
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  10. Causal Realism: Events and Processes.Anjan Chakravartty - 2005 - Erkenntnis 63 (1):7-31.
    Minimally, causal realism (as understood here) is the view that accounts of causation in terms of mere, regular or probabilistic conjunction are unsatisfactory, and that causal phenomena are correctly associated with some form of de re necessity. Classic arguments, however, some of which date back to Sextus Empiricus and have appeared many times since, including famously in Russell, suggest that the very notion of causal realism is incoherent. In this paper I argue that if such objections seem compelling, it is (...)
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  11. Structuralism as a Form of Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):151 – 171.
    Structural realism has recently re-entered mainstream discussions in the philosophy of science. The central notion of structure, however, is contested by both advocates and critics. This paper briefly reviews currently prominent structuralist accounts en route to proposing a metaphysics of structure that is capable of supporting the epistemic aspirations of realists, and that is immune to the charge most commonly levelled against structuralism. This account provides an alternative to the existing epistemic and ontic forms of the position, incorporating elements of (...)
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  12. Scientific Realism and Ontological Relativity.Anjan Chakravartty - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):157-180.
    Scientific realism has three dimensions: a metaphysical commitment to the existence of a mind-independent world; a semantic commitment to a literal interpretation of scientific claims; and an epistemological commitment to scientific knowledge of both observable and unobservable entities. The semantic dimension is uncontroversial, and the epistemological dimension, though contested, is well articulated in a number of ways. The metaphysical dimension, however, is not even well articulated. In this paper, I elaborate a plausible understanding of mind independence for the realist – (...)
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  13.  30
    Suspension of Belief and Epistemologies of Science.Anjan Chakravartty - 2015 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5 (2):168-192.
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  14.  28
    What is Scientific Realism?Anjan Chakravartty & Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):12-25.
    Decades of debate about scientific realism notwithstanding, we find ourselves bemused by what different philosophers appear to think it is, exactly. Does it require any sort of belief in relation to scientific theories and, if so, what sort? Is it rather typified by a certain understanding of the rationality of such beliefs? In the following dialogue we explore these questions in hopes of clarifying some convictions about what scientific realism is, and what it could or should be. En route, we (...)
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  15. The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws.Anjan Chakravartty - 2003 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
    One view of the nature of properties has been crystallized in recent debate by an identity thesis proposed by Shoemaker. The general idea is that there is for behaviour. Well-known criticisms of this approach, however, remain unanswered, and the details of its connections to laws nothing more to being a particular causal property than conferring certain dispositions of nature and the precise ontology of causal properties stand in need of development. This paper examines and defends a dispositional essentialist account of (...)
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  16.  86
    Realism in the Desert and in the Jungle: Reply to French, Ghins, and Psillos. [REVIEW]Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):39 - 58.
    A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable has two primary aims. The first is to extract the most promising refinements of the idea of scientific realism to emerge in recent decades and assemble them into a maximally defensible realist position, semirealism. The second is to demonstrate that, contra antirealist scepticism to the contrary, key concepts typically invoked by realists in expounding their views can be given a coherent and unified explication. These concepts include notions of causation, laws of nature, (...)
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  17.  47
    Particles, Causation, and the Metaphysics of Structure.Anjan Chakravartty - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2273-2289.
    I consider the idea of a structure of fundamental physical particles being causal. Causation is traditionally thought of as involving relations between entities—objects or events—that cause and are affected. On structuralist interpretations, however, it is unclear whether or how precisely fundamental particles can be causally efficacious. On some interpretations, only relations exist; on others, particles are ontologically dependent on their relations in ways that problematize the traditional picture. I argue that thinking about causal efficacy in this context generates an inevitable (...)
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  18.  8
    Feelings in Guts and Bones: Reply to Lewis, Magnus, and Strevens.Anjan Chakravartty - 2018 - Metascience 27 (3):379-387.
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    1. A Slippery Slope.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 27.
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  20. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum Getting Causes From Powers.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):axt007.
  21. Metaphysics Between the Sciences and Philosophies of Science.Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - In P. D. Magnus & Jacob Busch (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Subsequent to the transition from the era of natural philosophy to what we now regard as the era of the modern sciences, the latter have often been described as independent of the major philosophical preoccupations that previously informed theorizing about the natural world. The extent to which this is a naïve description is a matter of debate, and in particular, views of the place of metaphysics in the interpretation of modern scientific knowledge have varied enormously. Logical positivism spawned a distaste (...)
     
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  22.  45
    Perspectivism, Inconsistent Models, and Contrastive Explanation.Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):405-412.
    It is widely recognized that scientific theories are often associated with strictly inconsistent models, but there is little agreement concerning the epistemic consequences. Some argue that model inconsistency supports a strong perspectivism, according to which claims serving as interpretations of models are inevitably and irreducibly perspectival. Others argue that in at least some cases, inconsistent models can be unified as approximations to a theory with which they are associated, thus undermining this kind of perspectivism. I examine the arguments for perspectivism, (...)
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  23. Truth and Representation in Science: Two Inspirations From Art.Anjan Chakravartty - unknown
    Realists regarding scientific knowledge – those who think that our best scientific representations truly describe both observable and unobservable aspects of the natural world – have special need of a notion of approximate truth. Since theories and models are rarely considered true simpliciter, the realist requires some means of making sense of the claim that they may be false and yet close to the truth, and increasingly so over time. In this paper, I suggest that traditional approaches to approximate truth (...)
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  24. Ontological Priority: The Conceptual Basis of Non-Eliminative, Ontic Structural Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - unknown
    The number of positions identified with structural realism in philosophical debates about scientific knowledge has grown significantly in the past decade, particularly with respect to the metaphysical or ‘ontic’ approach (OSR). In recent years, several advocates of OSR have proposed a novel understanding of it in order to side-step a serious challenge faced by its original formulation, eliminative OSR. I examine the conceptual basis of the new, noneliminative view, and conclude that it too faces a serious challenge, resulting in a (...)
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  25.  27
    On the Prospects of Naturalized Metaphysics.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 27-50.
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  26.  20
    Reflections on New Thinking About Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3379-3392.
    In August 2014 the Universities of Pretoria and Johannesburg hosted a major international conference in Cape Town, ‘New Thinking about Scientific Realism’, to assess extant discussions of the view in hopes of opening up new avenues of research, and to sow the seeds of further development and consideration of these prospective lines of inquiry. In this, the concluding essay of the Special Issue collecting some of the descendants of these earlier presentations, I extract some of the more striking themes to (...)
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  27. Critical Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):227-229.
  28. Review of Brian Ellis, The Metaphysics of Scientific Realism[REVIEW]Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (7).
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  29. The Reality of the Unobservable: Observability, Unobservability and Their Impact on the Issue of Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):359-363.
    There is perhaps no more succinct a way of describing the controversy between scientific realists and antirealists than to say that it turns on the reality of the unobservable. Less concisely, it turns on whether we have reason to think that scientific theories tell us the truth (or something close to it) about some of the underlying, unobservable bits of a mind-independent, external reality, among other things. Claims to knowledge of such a reality have traditionally been a bone of contention (...)
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  30. Author-Meets-Critics: Exceeding Our Grasp by Kyle Stanford.Arthur Fine, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1).
  31.  17
    Making a Metaphysics for Nature.Anjan Chakravartty - 2009 - Metascience 18 (1):75-79.
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    Explanation, Inference, Testimony, and Truth: Essays Dedicated to the Memory of Peter Lipton.Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):335-336.
  33.  21
    The Dappled World.Anjan Chakravartty - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):244-247.
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  34. Getting Real with Quanta.Anjan Chakravartty - unknown
    The interpretation of quantum mechanics has always been a pain in the backside of scientific realism. Throughout its history, various anti-realist doctrines have dominated, associated with such luminaries as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and referred to collectively as ‘the Copenhagen interpretation’. The voice of realist dissent was thus marginalized, but never silenced. In recent years, renewed interest has attached to the possibility of a realist interpretation of quantum theory. Christopher Norris’ book is an effort in this tradition.
     
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  35.  9
    Introduction.Anjan Chakravartty - 2015 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 5 (2):73-79.
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  36. Critical Notices.Anjan Chakravartty - unknown
    In the wake of proclamations of the death of scientific realism, the past few years have witnessed several book-length resurrections. Like the undead, realism i s proving hard to finish off once and for all. In the preface to his book, Ilkka Niiniluoto suggests that the realism debate will never generate a consensus; it is an eternal problem of philosophy. Certainly, since the flourishing of work on the subject two decades ago, it has become clear that some disputes between realists (...)
     
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  37.  1
    Explanation, Inference, Testimony, and Truth: Essays Dedicated to the Memory of Peter Lipton: Issue Introduction.Anjan Chakravartty - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):335-336.
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  38. Scientific Ontology: Integrating Naturalized Metaphysics and Voluntarist Epistemology.Anjan Chakravartty - 2017 - Oup Usa.
    Though science and philosophy take different approaches to ontology, metaphysical inferences are relevant to interpreting scientific work, and empirical investigations are relevant to philosophy. This book argues that there is no uniquely rational way to determine which domains of ontology are appropriate for belief, making room for choice in a transformative account of scientific ontology.
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  39. Scientific Realism.Anjan Chakravartty - 2013 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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