*Ilkka Niiniluoto*

- Published in print:
- 2002
- Published Online:
- November 2003
- ISBN:
- 9780199251612
- eISBN:
- 9780191598098
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/0199251614.003.0005
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

Theoretical realism claims—against instrumentalism (Stegmüller), constructive empiricism (van Fraassen), entity realism (Hacking, Cartwright), and structural realism (Worrall)—that the theoretical ...
More

Theoretical realism claims—against instrumentalism (Stegmüller), constructive empiricism (van Fraassen), entity realism (Hacking, Cartwright), and structural realism (Worrall)—that the theoretical terms of successful scientific theories refer to real entities in the world, even beyond the edge of direct observability, and the principles and laws in theories are true. Critical realism qualifies this view by employing the notion of truthlikeness, which in particular applies to theories containing approximations and idealizations. The notion of truthlikeness also allows a precise formulation of a charitable account of reference for theoretical terms: unlike in Fregean approaches, a theory may refer to an entity even though its description is only approximately true or truthlike. This shows that rival or successive theories may refer to the same entities in spite of the phenomenon of meaning variance or incommensurability. Illustrations of the realism debates are given in the fields of astronomy, quantum mechanics, psychology, and economics.Less

Theoretical realism claims—against instrumentalism (Stegmüller), constructive empiricism (van Fraassen), entity realism (Hacking, Cartwright), and structural realism (Worrall)—that the theoretical terms of successful scientific theories refer to real entities in the world, even beyond the edge of direct observability, and the principles and laws in theories are true. Critical realism qualifies this view by employing the notion of truthlikeness, which in particular applies to theories containing approximations and idealizations. The notion of truthlikeness also allows a precise formulation of a charitable account of reference for theoretical terms: unlike in Fregean approaches, a theory may refer to an entity even though its description is only approximately true or truthlike. This shows that rival or successive theories may refer to the same entities in spite of the phenomenon of meaning variance or incommensurability. Illustrations of the realism debates are given in the fields of astronomy, quantum mechanics, psychology, and economics.

*Charles S. Chihara*

- Published in print:
- 1991
- Published Online:
- November 2003
- ISBN:
- 9780198239758
- eISBN:
- 9780191597190
- Item type:
- book

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/0198239750.001.0001
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Logic/Philosophy of Mathematics

A continuation of the study of mathematical existence begun in Ontology and the Vicious‐Circle Principle (published in 1973); in the present work, Quine's indispensability argument is rebutted by the ...
More

A continuation of the study of mathematical existence begun in Ontology and the Vicious‐Circle Principle (published in 1973); in the present work, Quine's indispensability argument is rebutted by the development of a new nominalistic version of mathematics (the Constructibility Theory) that is specified as an axiomatized theory formalized in a many‐sorted first‐order language. What is new in the present work is its abandonment of the predicative restrictions of the earlier work and its much greater attention to the applications of mathematics in science and everyday life. The book also contains detailed discussions of rival views (Mathematical Structuralism, Field's Instrumentalism, Burgess's Moderate Realism, Maddy's Set Theoretical Realism, and Kitcher's Ideal Agent account of mathematics), in which many comparisons with the Constructibility Theory are made.Less

A continuation of the study of mathematical existence begun in *Ontology and the Vicious‐Circle Principle* (published in 1973); in the present work, Quine's indispensability argument is rebutted by the development of a new nominalistic version of mathematics (the Constructibility Theory) that is specified as an axiomatized theory formalized in a many‐sorted first‐order language. What is new in the present work is its abandonment of the predicative restrictions of the earlier work and its much greater attention to the applications of mathematics in science and everyday life. The book also contains detailed discussions of rival views (Mathematical Structuralism, Field's Instrumentalism, Burgess's Moderate Realism, Maddy's Set Theoretical Realism, and Kitcher's Ideal Agent account of mathematics), in which many comparisons with the Constructibility Theory are made.

*Charles S. Chihara*

- Published in print:
- 1991
- Published Online:
- November 2003
- ISBN:
- 9780198239758
- eISBN:
- 9780191597190
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/0198239750.003.0010
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Logic/Philosophy of Mathematics

Penelope Maddy has attempted to develop a form of realism in mathematics (Set Theoretical Realism) that is not plagued by the sort of epistemological problems that beset traditional Platonism. Maddy ...
More

Penelope Maddy has attempted to develop a form of realism in mathematics (Set Theoretical Realism) that is not plagued by the sort of epistemological problems that beset traditional Platonism. Maddy advances the radical doctrine that we can and do causally interact with sets. We can see them, feel them, smell them, and even taste them. This chapter raises a series of objections to Maddy's version of realism.Less

Penelope Maddy has attempted to develop a form of realism in mathematics (Set Theoretical Realism) that is not plagued by the sort of epistemological problems that beset traditional Platonism. Maddy advances the radical doctrine that we can and do causally interact with sets. We can see them, feel them, smell them, and even taste them. This chapter raises a series of objections to Maddy's version of realism.