Results for 'structural realism'

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  1. Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?John Worrall - 1989 - Dialectica 43 (1-2):99-124.
    The no-miracles argument for realism and the pessimistic meta-induction for anti-realism pull in opposite directions. Structural Realism---the position that the mathematical structure of mature science reflects reality---relieves this tension.
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  2. Structural Realism Versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air.James Ladyman - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):87 - 101.
    The aim of this paper is to revisit the phlogiston theory to see what can be learned from it about the relationship between scientific realism, approximate truth and successful reference. It is argued that phlogiston theory did to some extent correctly describe the causal or nomological structure of the world, and that some of its central terms can be regarded as referring. However, it is concluded that the issue of whether or not theoretical terms successfully refer is not the (...)
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  3. Structural Realism.James Ladyman - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
    Structural realism is considered by many realists and antirealists alike as the most defensible form of scientific realism. There are now many forms of structural realism and an extensive literature about them. There are interesting connections with debates in metaphysics, philosophy of physics and philosophy of mathematics. This entry is intended to be a comprehensive survey of the field.
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  4.  59
    Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?John Worrall - 1989 - Dialectica 43 (1-2):99-124.
    SummaryThe main argument for scientific realism is that our present theories in science are so successful empirically that they can't have got that way by chance ‐ instead they must somehow have latched onto the blueprint of the universe. The main argument against scientific realism is that there have been enormously successful theories which were once accepted but are now regarded as false. The central question addressed in this paper is whether there is some reasonable way to have (...)
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  5. Structural Realism and the Nature of Structure.Jonas R. Becker Arenhart & Otávio Bueno - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):111-139.
    Ontic Structural Realism is a version of realism about science according to which by positing the existence of structures, understood as basic components of reality, one can resolve central difficulties faced by standard versions of scientific realism. Structures are invoked to respond to two important challenges: one posed by the pessimist meta-induction and the other by the underdetermination of metaphysics by physics, which arises in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. We argue that difficulties in the proper understanding of (...)
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  6. Remodelling Structural Realism: Quantum Physics and the Metaphysics of Structure. [REVIEW]Steven French & James Ladyman - 2003 - Synthese 136 (1):31-56.
    We outline Ladyman's 'metaphysical' or 'ontic' form of structuralrealism and defend it against various objections. Cao, in particular, has questioned theview of ontology presupposed by this approach and we argue that by reconceptualisingobjects in structural terms it offers the best hope for the realist in thecontext of modern physics.
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  7. Moderate Structural Realism About Space-Time.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2008 - Synthese 160 (1):27 - 46.
    This paper sets out a moderate version of metaphysical structural realism that stands in contrast to both the epistemic structural realism of Worrall and the—radical—ontic structural realism of French and Ladyman. According to moderate structural realism, objects and relations (structure) are on the same ontological footing, with the objects being characterized only by the relations in which they stand. We show how this position fares well as regards philosophical arguments, avoiding the objections (...)
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  8. Ontic Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32.
    This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a (...)
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  9. Ontic Structural Realism and Modality.Nora Berenstain & James Ladyman - 2012 - In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer.
    There is good reason to believe that scientific realism requires a commitment to the objective modal structure of the physical world. Causality, equilibrium, laws of nature, and probability all feature prominently in scientific theory and explanation, and each one is a modal notion. If we are committed to the content of our best scientific theories, we must accept the modal nature of the physical world. But what does the scientific realist’s commitment to physical modality require? We consider whether scientific (...)
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  10. Mathematical Structural Realism.Christopher Pincock - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 67--79.
    Epistemic structural realists have argued that we are in a better epistemic position with respect to the structural claims made by our theories than the non-structural claims. Critics have objected that we cannot make the structure/non-structure distinction precise. I respond that a focus on mathematical structure leads to a clearer understanding of this debate. Unfortunately for the structural realist, however, the contribution that mathematics makes to scientific representation undermines any general confidence we might have in the (...)
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  11.  99
    Is Structural Realism the Best of Both Worlds?Stathis Psillos - 1995 - Dialectica 49 (1):15-46.
    In a recent series of papers, John Worrall has defended and elaborated a philosophical position – traced back to Poincaré– which he calls structural realism. This view stands in between scientific realism and agnostic instrumentalism and intends to accommodate both the intuitions that underwrite the ‘no miracles’ argument for scientific realism and the existence of scientific revolutions which lead to radical theoretical changes. Structural realism presents itself as the best of both worlds. In this (...)
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  12.  20
    Cognitive Structural Realism: A Radical Solution to the Problem of Scientific Representation.Majid Davoody Beni - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
    In this book, the author develops a new form of structural realism and deals with the problem of representation. The work combines two distinguished developments of the Semantic View of Theories, namely Structural Realism, a flourishing theory from contemporary philosophy of science, and Ronald Giere and colleagues’ Cognitive Models of Science approach. Readers will see how replacing the model-theoretic structures that are at issue in SR with connectionist networks and activations patterns helps us to deal with (...)
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  13. Is Structural Realism Possible?Stathis Psillos - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S13-S24.
    This paper examines in detail two paths that lead to Structural Realism (SR), viz. a substantive philosophical position which asserts that only the structure of the world is knowable. The upward path is any attempt to begin with empiricist premises and reach a sustainable realist position. (It has been advocated by Russell, Weyl, and Maxwell among others.) The downward path is any attempt to start from realist premises and construct a weaker realist position. (It has been recently advocated (...)
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  14. Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects.Michael Esfeld & Vincent Lam - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 143-159.
    The paper spells out five different accounts of the relationship between objects and relations three of which are versions of ontic structural realism. We argue that the distinction between objects and properties, including relations, is merely a conceptual one by contrast to an ontological one: properties, including relations, are modes, that is the concrete, particular ways in which objects exist. We then set out moderate OSR as the view according to which irreducible relations are central ways in which (...)
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  15. Group Structural Realism.Bryan W. Roberts - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):47-69.
    We present a precise form of structural realism, called group structural realism , which identifies ‘structure’ in quantum theory with symmetry groups. However, working out the details of this view actually illuminates a major problem for structural realism; namely, a structure can itself have structure. This article argues that, once a precise characterization of structure is given, the ‘metaphysical hierarchy’ on which group structural realism rests is overly extravagant and ultimately unmotivated.
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  16.  15
    Is Structural Realism Possible?Stathis Psillos - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S13-S24.
    This paper examines in detail two paths that lead to Structural Realism, viz. a substantive philosophical position which asserts that only the structure of the world is knowable. The upward path is any attempt to begin with empiricist premises and reach a sustainable realist position. The downward path is any attempt to start from realist premises and construct a weaker realist position. This paper unravels and criticizes the metaphysical presuppositions of both paths to SR. It questions its very (...)
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  17. Ontic Structural Realism.Kerry McKenzie - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4):e12399.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the position is actually (...)
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  18. Structural Realism Versus Deployment Realism: A Comparative Evaluation.Timothy D. Lyons - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:95-105.
    In this paper I challenge and adjudicate between the two positions that have come to prominence in the scientific realism debate: deployment realism and structural realism. I discuss a set of cases from the history of celestial mechanics, including some of the most important successes in the history of science. To the surprise of the deployment realist, these are novel predictive successes toward which theoretical constituents that are now seen to be patently false were genuinely deployed. (...)
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  19.  62
    Structural Realist Account of the Self.Majid Beni - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3727-3740.
    In this paper, inspired by the late twentieth century developments in philosophy of science, I propose an ontological scheme to accommodate the scientifically-informed anti-substantivalist views of the self. I call the position structural realist theory of the self. More specifically, I argue that SRS provides a middle ground for bringing a metaphysical reconciliation between the two recurring, and apparently competing forms of such anti-substantivalist views, i.e., eliminativism and pluralism. The notion of the structural self, as the underpinning pattern (...)
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  20. Structural Realism: Continuity and its Limits.Ioannis Votsis - 2009 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 105--117.
    Structural realists of nearly all stripes endorse the structural continuity claim. Roughly speaking, this is the claim that the structure of successful scientific theories survives theory change because it has latched on to the structure of the world. In this paper I elaborate, elucidate and modify the structural continuity claim and its associated argument. I do so without presupposing a particular conception of structure that favours this or that kind of structural realism. Instead I focus (...)
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  21. What is Structural Realism?James Ladyman - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
  22. Structural Realism, Again.Simon Saunders - 2003 - Synthese 136 (1):127-133.
    The paper defends a view of structural realism similar to that of French and Ladyman, although it differs from theirs in an important respect: I do not take indistinguishabiity of particles in quantum mechanics to have the significance they think it has. It also differs from Cao's view of structural realism, criticized in my "Critical Notice: Cao's `The Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories".
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  23.  46
    Pluralist Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?David Glick - 2019 - Synthese 198 (5):4145-4166.
    Worrall :99–124, 1989) famously claimed that structural realism is the best of both worlds; it enables one to endorse the best arguments for scientific realism and antirealism. In this paper, I argue that structural realism also enables one to combine two other seemingly inconsistent positions: realism and pluralism. Indeed, the very features which form the basis of the structural realist’s reply to the problem of theory change may be applied synchronically to allow for (...)
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  24. Ontic Structural Realism and Economics.Don Ross - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):732-743.
    Ontic structural realism (OSR) is crucially motivated by empirical discoveries of fundamental physics. To this extent its potential to furnish a general metaphysics for science may appear limited. However, OSR also provides a good account of the progress that has been achieved over the decades in a formalized special science, economics. Furthermore, this has a basis in the ontology presupposed by economic theory, and is not just an artifact of formalization. †To contact the author, please write to: 4th (...)
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  25.  81
    Ontic Structural Realism and Quantum Field Theory: Are There Intrinsic Properties at the Most Fundamental Level of Reality?Philipp Berghofer - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:176-188.
    Ontic structural realism refers to the novel, exciting, and widely discussed basic idea that the structure of physical reality is genuinely relational. In its radical form, the doctrine claims that there are, in fact, no objects but only structure, i.e., relations. More moderate approaches state that objects have only relational but no intrinsic properties. In its most moderate and most tenable form, ontic structural realism assumes that at the most fundamental level of physical reality there are (...)
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  26.  29
    Structural Realism Beyond Physics.Dana Tulodziecki - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:106--114.
    The main purpose of this paper is to test structural realism against (one example from) the historical record. I begin by laying out an existing challenge to structural realism -- that of providing an example of a theory exhibiting successful structures that were abandoned -- and show that this challenge can be met by the miasma theory of disease. However, rather than concluding that this is an outright counterexample to structural realism, I use this (...)
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  27. Structural Realism and the Relationship Between the Special Sciences and Physics.James Ladyman - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):744-755.
    The primacy of physics generates a philosophical problem that the naturalist must solve in order to be entitled to an egalitarian acceptance of the ontological commitments he or she inherits from the special sciences and fundamental physics. The problem is the generalized causal exclusion argument. If there is no genuine causation in the domains of the special sciences but only in fundamental physics then there are grounds for doubting the existence of macroscopic objects and properties, or at least the concreteness (...)
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  28. Structural Realism or Modal Empiricism?Quentin Ruyant - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1051-1072.
    Structural realism has been suggested as the best compromise in the debate on scientific realism. It proposes that we should be realist about the relational structure of the world, not its nature. However, it faces an important objection, first raised by Newman against Russell: if relations are not qualified, then the position is either trivial or collapses into empiricism, but if relations are too strongly qualified, then it is no longer SR. A way to overcome this difficulty (...)
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  29. Structural Realism and the Meaning of Theoretical Terms.Grover Maxwell - 1970 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4:181-192.
  30. Structural Realism for Secondary Qualities.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):481-510.
    This paper outlines and defends a novel position in the color realism debate, namely structural realism. This position is novel in that it dissociates the veridicality of color attributions from the claim that physical objects are themselves colored. Thus, it is realist about color in both the semantic and epistemic senses, but not the ontic sense. The generality of this position is demonstrated by applying it to other “secondary qualities,” including heat, musical pitch, and odor. The basic (...)
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  31. Structural Realism and the Social Sciences.Harold Kincaid - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):720-731.
    After sorting different structuralist claims, I argue that structural realist ideas are instantiated in the social sciences, providing both clarification of social science research and support for some components of structural realism. My main focus is on three distinct ways that the social sciences can be about structural relations—exemplified by claims about social structure, reduced form structures in causal modeling, and equilibrium explanations—and on the implication of structuralist ideas for thinking about issues concerning causal explanation and (...)
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  32.  10
    Is Structural Realism the Best of Both Worlds?Stathis Psilos - 1995 - Dialectica 49 (1):15-46.
    In a recent series of papers, John Worrall has defended and elaborated a philosophical position – traced back to Poincaré– which he calls structural realism. This view stands in between scientific realism and agnostic instrumentalism and intends to accommodate both the intuitions that underwrite the ‘no miracles’ argument for scientific realism and the existence of scientific revolutions which lead to radical theoretical changes. Structural realism presents itself as the best of both worlds. In this (...)
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  33. Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory.Tian Yu Cao - 2003 - Synthese 136 (1):3 - 24.
  34. Ontic Structural Realism and the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles.Peter Ainsworth - 2011 - Erkenntnis 75 (1):67-84.
    Recently, there has been a debate as to whether or not the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (the PII) is compatible with quantum physics. It is also sometimes argued that the answer to this question has implications for the debate over the tenability of ontic structural realism (OSR). The central aim of this paper is to establish what relationship there is (if any) between the PII and OSR. It is argued that one common interpretation of OSR is (...)
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  35.  6
    Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality.Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.) - 2012 - Springer.
    Structural realism has rapidly gained in popularity in recent years, but it has splintered into many distinct denominations, often underpinned by diverse motivations. There is, no monolithic position known as ‘structural realism,’ but there is a general convergence on the idea that a central role is to be played by relational aspects over object-based aspects of ontology. What becomes of causality in a world without fundamental objects? In this book, the foremost authorities on structural (...) attempt to answer this and related questions: ‘what is structure?’ and ‘what is an object?’ Also featured are the most recent advances in structural realism, including the intersection of mathematical structuralism and structural realism, and the latest treatments of laws and modality in the context of structural realism. The book will be of interest to philosophers of science, philosophers of physics, metaphysicians, and those interested in foundational aspects of science. (shrink)
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  36.  48
    Structural Realism, Metaphysical Unification, and the Ontology and Epistemology of Patterns.Majid Davoody Beni - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):285-300.
    ABSTRACTLadyman and Ross’s account of the metaphysical component of ontic structural realism was associated with a unificationist view of the connection between fundamental physics and special sciences. The aim of the present article is to assess the sense of unification that is at issue in Ladyman and Ross’s definition of metaphysics. Given the ontic core of Ladyman and Ross’s version of structural realism, it should be assumed that the unifying endeavour is worthwhile only if the connective (...)
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  37. A Defence of Informational Structural Realism.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - Synthese 161 (2):219-253.
    This is the revised version of an invited keynote lecture delivered at the "1st Australian Computing and Philosophy Conference". The paper is divided into two parts. The first part defends an informational approach to structural realism. It does so in three steps. First, it is shown that, within the debate about structural realism, epistemic and ontic structural realism are reconcilable. It follows that a version of OSR is defensible from a structuralist-friendly position. Second, it (...)
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  38. Process Structural Realism, Instance Ontology, and Societal Order.Joseph Earley - 2008 - In Franz Riffert and Hans-Joachim Sander (ed.), Rearching with Whitehead: System and Adventure. Berlin: Alber. pp. 190-211.
    Whitehead’s cosmology centers on the self-creation of actual occasions that perish as they come to be, but somehow do combine to constitute societies that are persistent agents and/or patients. “Instance Ontology” developed by D.W. Mertz concerns unification of relata into facts of relatedness by specific intensions. These two conceptual systems are similar in that they both avoid the substance-property distinction: they differ in their understanding of how basic units combine to constitute complex unities. “Process Structural Realism” (PSR) draws (...)
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  39. Must Structural Realism Cover the Special Sciences?Holger Lyre - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 383--390.
    Structural Realism (SR) is typically rated as a moderate realist doctrine about the ultimate entities of nature described by fundamental physics. Whether it must be extended to the higher-level special sciences is not so clear. In this short paper I argue that there is no need to ‘structuralize’ the special sciences. By mounting concrete examples I show that structural descriptions and structural laws certainly play a role in the special sciences, but that they don’t play any (...)
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  40. Ramseyfication and Structural Realism.Elie G. Zahar - 2004 - Theoria 19 (1):5-30.
    Structural Realism (SSR), as embodied in the Ramsey-sentence H* of a theory H, is defended against the view that H* reduces to a trivial statement about the cardinality of the domain of H, a view which arises from ignoring the central role of observation within science. Putnam’s theses are examined and shown to support rather than undermine SSR. Finally: in view of its synthetic character, applied mathematics must enter into the formulation of H* and hence be shown to (...)
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  41.  89
    Epistemic Structural Realism and Poincare's Philosophy of Science.Katherine Brading & Elise Crull - 2017 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 7 (1):108-129.
    Recent discussions of structuralist approaches to scientific theories have stemmed primarily from Worrall's, in which he defends a position whose historical roots he attributes to Poincare. In the renewed debate inspired by Worrall, it is thus not uncommon to find Poincare's name associated with various structuralist positions. However, Poincare's structuralism is deeply entwined with both his conventionalism and his idealism, and in this paper we explore the nature of these dependencies. What comes out in the end is not only a (...)
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  42. Points, Particles, and Structural Realism.Oliver Pooley - 2005 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha T. Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--120.
    In his paper ``What is Structural Realism?'' James Ladyman drew a distinction between epistemological structural realism and metaphysical (or ontic) structural realism. He also drew a suggestive analogy between the perennial debate between substantivalist and relationalist interpretations of spacetime on the one hand, and the debate about whether quantum mechanics treats identical particles as individuals or as `non-individuals' on the other. In both cases, Ladyman's suggestion is that an ontic structural realist interpretation of (...)
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  43. Ontic Structural Realism and Concrete Objects.D. O'Conaill - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):284-300.
  44.  12
    Structural Realism Again.Saunders Simon - 2003 - Synthese 136 (1):127-133.
    The paper defends a view of structural realism similar to that of French and Ladyman, although it differs from theirs in an important respect: I do not take indistinguishabiity of particles in quantum mechanics to have the significance they think it has. It also differs from Cao's view of structural realism, criticized in my "Critical Notice: Cao's `The Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories".
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  45. Ontic Structural Realism and the Philosophy of Physics.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
     
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  46.  98
    Structural Realism: A Neo-Kantian Perspective.Michela Massimi - 2011 - In Alisa Bokulich & Peter Bokulich (eds.), Scientific Structuralism. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 1--23.
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  47. Structural Realism, Scientific Change, and Partial Structures.Otávio Bueno - 2008 - Studia Logica 89 (2):213-235.
    Scientific change has two important dimensions: conceptual change and structural change. In this paper, I argue that the existence of conceptual change brings serious difficulties for scientific realism, and the existence of structural change makes structural realism look quite implausible. I then sketch an alternative account of scientific change, in terms of partial structures, that accommodates both conceptual and structural changes. The proposal, however, is not realist, and supports a structuralist version of van Fraassen’s (...)
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  48.  55
    Reconsidering Structural Realism.Dan Mcarthur - 2003 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):517 - 536.
    In the lengthy debate over the question of scientific realism one of the least discussed positions is structural realism. However, this position ought to attract critical attention because it purports to preserve the central insights of the best arguments for both realism and anti-realism. John Worrall has in fact described it as being ‘the best of both worlds’ that recognizes the discontinuous nature of scientific change as well as the ‘no-miracles’ argument for scientific realism. (...)
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  49. Towards Structural Realism.Jonathan Bain - manuscript
    In the debate over scientific realism, attention has been given recently to a realist position referred to as structural realism. In this essay, I offer a version of this position and indicate how it addresses two standard forms of underdetermination argument posed by the anti-realist.
     
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  50.  14
    Freeing Structural Realism From Model Theory.Neil Dewar - 2021 - In Elena Aladova, Pablo Barceló, Johan van Benthem, Gerald Berger, Katrin M. Dannert, Neil Dewar, Răzvan Diaconescu, Ivo Düntsch, Wojciech Dzik, M. Eyad Kurd-Misto, Giambattista Formica, Michèle Friend, Robert Goldblatt, Georg Gottlob, Erich Grädel, Robin Hirsch, Ian Hodkinson, Marcel Jackson, Peter Jipsen, Roger D. Maddux, J. B. Manchak, Ewa Orłowska, Andreas Pieris, Boris Plotkin, Tatjana Plotkin, Vaughan R. Pratt, Ian Pratt-Hartmann, Tarek Sayed Ahmed, James Owen Weatherall, Dag Westerståhl, James Wimberley, Krzysztof Wójtowicz & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Hajnal Andréka and István Németi on Unity of Science: From Computing to Relativity Theory Through Algebraic Logic. Springer Verlag. pp. 363-382.
    Structural realists contend that the properties and relations in the world are more fundamental than the individuals. However, the standard model theory used to analyse the structure of logical theories can make it difficult to see how such an idea could be coherent or workable: for in that theory, properties and relations are constructed as sets of individuals. In this paper, I look at three ways in which structuralists might hope for an alternative: by appealing to predicate-functor logic, Tractarian (...)
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