JOHN WORRALL case of realism’s ‘explanation’ of the success of our current theories there can of course be no question of any independent tests. Scientific. Structural realism was introduced into contemporary philosophy of science by John Worrall in as a way to break the impasse that results. (1) Epistemic Structural Realism, or ESR for short, holds that our epistemic by the publication of John Worrall’s ‘Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?.

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Structural Realism

From Conventionalism to Phenomenologypp. Cambridge University Press, pp.

Given that they may also be attributed exactly the same spatial wavefunction, as when they are both in the first orbit worrrall an atom, for example, then such particles would seem to violate PII. To say that all that there is are relations and no relata, is perhaps to follow Plato and say that the world of appearances is not properly thought of as part of the content of knowledge.

Oxford University,pp. Mathematics, Matter and MethodCambridge: There is an analogy here structurall the theory of universals and the problem of exemplification. Votsis considers examples of continuity and discontinuity in physics.

The most important of these are: It is widely held that the most powerful argument in favour of scientific realism is the no-miracles argument, according to which the success of science would be miraculous if scientific theories were not at least approximately true descriptions of the world. Our best current theories are no different in kind from those discarded theories and so we have no reason to think they will not ultimately be replaced as well.

Many people’s first response to structural realism is to point out that mathematical structure is often lost in theory change too see, for example, Chakravartty, Stanford— From Metaphysics to EthicsOxford: There are numerous examples of continuity in the mathematical structure of successive scientific theories. See also Esfeld and for a Humean take on structural realism, Lyre A fully-fledged account only emerged in The Analysis of Matter Alan Musgrave says that worgall only version of the no-miracles argument that might work is one appealing to the novel predictive success of theories.


Tracing the Development of Structural Realism.

Structural Realism

Kerry McKenzie forthcoming uses Fine’s realisj analyses of ontological dependence to argue against eliminativist OSR and in favour of moderate structural realism based on a case study from particle physics. This is an epistemological structural realism meant to vindicate and not to revise the ontological commitments of scientific realism. Volume 4pp.

They have the basic form:. Classical particles can be and often are so regarded. Hence, the standard view is that the relations between individuals other than their spatio-temporal relations supervene on the intrinsic properties of the relata and their strictural relations.

There are examples of theories that were mature and had novel predictive success but whose central theoretical terms do not refer.

John Worrall, Structural realism: The best of both worlds? – PhilPapers

Philosophy of ScienceOxford: This recalls the defence of Russell’s structuralism against Newman discussed in Hochberg An epistemic structural realist may insist in a Kantian spirit that there being such objects is a necessary condition for our empirical knowledge of the world.

The relationship between structural realism and these views is a matter for further work. The latter also seems to have understood objectivity in terms of invariance.

How, he wondered, can we then know about and refer to them and their properties? Katherine Brading and Alexander Skyles consider the plausibility of arguing struuctural structural realism on the basis of this underdetermination.

He revised Kant’s view by arguing that the latter can be known indirectly rather than not at all because it is possible to know the relations into which they enter. When it comes to wholesale arguments against scientific realism, perhaps the most influential until recently was the underdetermination argument, according to which the existence of empirical equivalents to our best scientific theories implies that we should withhold epistemic commitment to them.


Philosophy at the New MillenniumCambridge: Harvey Brown explains the correspondence between Special Relativity and classical mechanics. The no-miracles argument is elaborated in terms of specific features of scientific methodology and practice. Moderate Realism and its LogicYale: Informational structural stryctural in the context of the foundations of computer science is defended by Floridi Introduction Scientific realism is the view that we ought to believe in the unobservable entities posited by our most successful scientific theories.

Michael Esfeld discusses structuralism about powers. Hence, it seems that the insistence on interpreting spacetime in terms of an ontology of underlying entities and their properties is what strucutral the problems for realism about spacetime. The most common realist response to this argument is to restrict realism to theories with some further properties usually, maturity, and novel predictive success so as to cut down the inductive base employed in i see Psillos This was described group theoretically by Weyl and Wigner in terms of the group of permutations, and the former’s approach to relativity theory was similarly group-theoretic.

Its interest lies in the fact that on this view it would seem that the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles PIIrestricted so that identity involving properties are not in its scope, must be structurzl.

Philosophy in Physics —Oxford: Although originally promoted as the view that only structures exist, i.