Presentation on theme: "PHILOSOPHY 107 (STOLZE) Notes on Geoffrey Gorham, Philosophy of Science, Chapter 4."— Presentation transcript:
PHILOSOPHY 107 (STOLZE) Notes on Geoffrey Gorham, Philosophy of Science, Chapter 4
Scientific Realism vs. Anti-Realism Scientific Realism = “modern scientific theories provide a true (or approximately true) account of the world” (p. 90). Anti-Realism = “the aim of scientific theories is not to provide a true account of the world” (p. 90).
The “No Miracles” Argument for Scientific Realism “Realism is the best (or only) explanation for the empirical and technological success of modern science” (p. 90).
Ant-Realist Objections to Realism Realism “begs the question” “Pessimistic induction” Theoretical “underdetermination”
Anti-Realism and Skepticism “Skepticism is the ancient philosophical doctrine that we know very little. Scientific anti-realism can be understood as a moderate form of skepticism since it claims that science doesn’t provide us with knowledge beyond the observable” (p. 96). Skepticism and Descartes
Revising Realism in response to Anti-Realist Objections Two variations on Truth-Realism: Progress-Realism = “modern science hasn’t actually reached the truth but only makes progress towards the truth” Structural-Realism = “modern science achieves a true or ‘truer’ account of the world only with respect to its mathematical structure rather than its intrinsic qualities or nature” (p. 101)
Varieties of Anti-Realism Instrumentalism = “theories are best understood as tools or instruments for organizing experience rather than straightforward claims about the world” (p. 103). Semantic Reductionalism = “theories are indeed claims, but disguised claims about experience rather than about unobservable entities” (p. 104), e.g., behaviorism Constructive Empiricism = “the aim of science is ‘empirical adequacy,’ i.e. truth about the observable rather than truth about the unobservable” (p. 106). Conceptual Relativism = “jettisons altogether the notion that science describes a world independent of our theories” (p. 107).
Scientific Unification and Reduction Unification = “occurs within a given science when two or more kinds of phenomena that had previously been covered by distinct concepts or laws are brought under a single analysis” (p. 110), e.g., the neo-Darwinian synthesis. Reduction = “the attempt to show that the concepts and laws of a given science follow directly from the concepts and laws of another, more fundamental science” (p. 111), e.g., sociobiology and genetic determinism. Objections: emergence and pluralism