Realism-Antirealism Slides

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The slides from my last lecture in the realism-antirealism unit of Phil 160 ("Philosophy of Science") at San Jose State University.

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Realism-Antirealism Slides

  1. 1. PHIL 160 van Fraassen’s antirealism: Constructive empiricism If I accept a theory, I believe the claims it makes about observables are true. Claims theory makes about unobservables could be false.
  2. 2. PHIL 160 Detectable with unaided senses. Observable: <ul><li>some observables may not have been observed. </li></ul><ul><li>some things would be observable if they existed. </li></ul>
  3. 3. PHIL 160 Not detectable with unaided senses. Why aren’t crobes observable? What you see: consequences of arrangement of instrument + sample
  4. 4. PHIL 160 Duhem : Observations with instruments assume theory of the measuring device arrangement of instrument + sample observables (seen through lens) unobservables (causing what is seen) ?
  5. 5. PHIL 160 Accepting a theory Realist : I believe all the claims the theory makes are true. Antirealist : I believe the claims the theory makes makes about observables are true.
  6. 6. PHIL 160 Hacking’s middle position: “ Entity Realism” : I believe all the entities the theory identifies really exist, but some of the claims the theory makes about them may be false.
  7. 7. PHIL 160 Hacking : Microscopes tell us something is there, but may not show us just what that something is like.
  8. 8. PHIL 160 What a microscope gives : Map of the interaction between specimen and imaging radiation.
  9. 9. PHIL 160 Features vs. artefacts: Features observed from sample using different types of radiation due to real features of sample Features observed from one type of radiation different using many different samples due to instrument
  10. 10. PHIL 160 Entity Realism: We can believe that what we see with the microscope is caused by really existing entities. Why? Because we can manipulate those entities! Chiharas’ mites
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  17. 17. PHIL 160 Hard-core antirealist: <ul><li>Claims the mites exists (they’re observable). </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t know whether the mites have legs or not! </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t explain changes in movement in terms of leg-removal! </li></ul>

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