P160 antirealismclassroomversion

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P160 antirealismclassroomversion

  1. 1. PHIL 160PHIL 160
  2. 2. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Goal of science: develop good theories of the world.
  3. 3. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Goal of science: develop good theories of the world. What makes a theory good?
  4. 4. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Science aims for literally true theories. Science aims for empirically adequate theories. Scientific Realism: Scientific Antirealism: Realism vs. Antirealism
  5. 5. Empirically adequate = PHIL 160PHIL 160 Making true claims about all the observables (but claims about unobservables might be false)
  6. 6. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Is an aim of science literally true theories? Grover Maxwell: YES! (Jones’ theory of disease)
  7. 7. PHIL 160PHIL 160
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  9. 9. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Disease spread by: • bodily contact with sick person • contact with items handled by sick person Observations: Another phenomenon with same pattern of spread: LICE
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  13. 13. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Disease spread by “crobes” transmitted in the same ways lice are transmitted. • Crobes too small to be seen. • Halt spread of disease by halting spread of crobes. Jones’ conjecture
  14. 14. PHIL 160PHIL 160 • Predicts who will get sick. • Suggests ways to stop spread of disease (“disinfection”). Theory works! Should we believe in crobes?
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  16. 16. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Maxwell: No principled line we could draw between observable and theoretical entities. Nothing disreputable about crobes!
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  22. 22. PHIL 160PHIL 160 NOT a problem of observable vs. theoretical entities. Problems with Maxwell Rather, observable vs. unobservable.
  23. 23. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Rather, no data to determine whether they exist or not. Antirealist doesn’t need to say unobservable entities don’t exist. Problems with Maxwell
  24. 24. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Argument from success of theory to existence of crobes is logically flawed! Problems with Maxwell
  25. 25. PHIL 160PHIL 160 So, crobes exist! 1. If there are crobes, and if crobes cause disease, then taking steps X to stop their spread will reduce the incidence of disease. 2. Taking steps X is followed by a reduction in the incidence of disease.
  26. 26. PHIL 160PHIL 160 So, my battery is dead. 1. If my battery is dead, then my car won’t start. 2. My car won’t start. Bad logic! (“Affirming the consequent”)
  27. 27. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Can only get empirical evidence about observables, not unobservables. van Fraassen’s antirealism: Constructive empiricism
  28. 28. PHIL 160PHIL 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.
  29. 29. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Detectable with unaided senses. Observable: • some observables may not have been observed. • some things would be observable if they existed.
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  33. 33. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Not detectable with unaided senses. Why aren’t crobes observable? What you see: consequences of arrangement of instrument + sample
  34. 34. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Duhem: Observations with instruments assume theory of the measuring device arrangement of instrument + sample observables (seen through lens) unobservables (causing what is seen) ?
  35. 35. PHIL 160PHIL 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.
  36. 36. PHIL 160PHIL 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.
  37. 37. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Hacking: Microscopes tell us something is there, but may not show us just what that something is like.
  38. 38. PHIL 160PHIL 160 What a microscope gives: Map of the interaction between specimen and imaging radiation.
  39. 39. PHIL 160PHIL 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
  40. 40. PHIL 160PHIL 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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  46. 46. PHIL 160PHIL 160
  47. 47. PHIL 160PHIL 160 Hard-core antirealist: • Claims the mites exists (they’re observable). • Can’t know whether the mites have legs or not! • Can’t explain changes in movement in terms of leg- removal!
  48. 48. PHIL 160PHIL 160 What counts as a good explanation anyway? NEXT CLASS

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