1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism

Edited By Juha Saatsi Copyright 2018
    470 Pages
    by Routledge

    470 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Scientific realism is a central, long-standing, and hotly debated topic in philosophy of science. Debates about scientific realism concern the very nature and extent of scientific knowledge and progress. Scientific realists defend a positive epistemic attitude towards our best theories and models regarding how they represent the world that is unobservable to our naked senses. Various realist theses are under sceptical fire from scientific antirealists, e.g. empiricists and instrumentalists. The different dimensions of the ensuing debate centrally connect to numerous other topics in philosophy of science and beyond.

    The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism is an outstanding reference source – the first collection of its kind – to the key issues, positions, and arguments in this important topic. Its thirty-four chapters, written by a team of international experts, are divided into five parts:

    • Historical development of the realist stance

    • Classic debate: core issues and positions

    • Perspectives on contemporary debates

    • The realism debate in disciplinary context

    • Broader reflections

    In these sections, the core issues and debates presented, analysed, and set into broader historical and disciplinary contexts. The central issues covered include motivations and arguments for realism; challenges to realism from underdetermination and history of science; different variants of realism; the connection of realism to relativism and perspectivism; and the relationship between realism, metaphysics, and epistemology.

    The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of science. It will also be very useful for anyone interested in the nature and extent of scientific knowledge.

    Introduction: Scientific realism in the 21st century – Juha Saatsi

    PART 1: Historical development of the realist stance

    1. Realism and logical empiricism – Matthias Neuber

    2. The realist turn in the philosophy of science – Stathis Psillos

    PART 2: Classic debate: core issues and positions

    3. Success of science as a motivation for realism – K. Brad Wray

    4. Historical challenges to realism – Peter Vickers

    5. Underdetermination – Dana Tulodziecki

    6. Kuhn, relativism and realism – Howard Sankey

    7. Instrumentalism – Darrell P. Rowbottom

    8. Empiricism – Otavio Bueno

    9. Structural Realism and its Variants – Ioannis Votsis

    10. Entity realism – Matthias Egg

    11. Truthlikeness and Approximate Truth – Gerhard Schurz

    PART 3: Perspectives on contemporary debates

    12. Global vs. local arguments for realism – Leah Henderson

    13. Perspectivism – Michela Massimi

    14. Pluralism and scientific realism – Hasok Chang

    15. Scientific progress – Ilkka Niiniluoto

    16. Realism and the limits of explanatory reasoning – Juha Saatsi

    17. Unconceived alternatives and uniformitarian instrumentalism – P. Kyle Stanford

    18. Realism, Antirealism, Epistemic Stances, and Voluntarism – Anjan Chakravartty

    19. Modeling and Realism: Strange Bedfellows? – Arnon Levy

    20. Success and Scientific Realism: Considerations from the Philosophy of Simulation – Eric Winsberg and Ali Mirza

    21. Scientific realism and social epistemology – Martin Kusch

    PART 4: The realism debate in disciplinary context

    22. Scientific Realism and High Energy Physics – Richard Dawid

    23. Getting Real about Quantum Mechanics – Laura Ruetsche

    24. Scientific Realism and Primordial Cosmology – Jeremy Butterfield

    25. Three Kinds of Realism about Historical Science – Derek Turner

    26 Scientific Realism and the Earth Sciences – Teru Miyake

    27. Scientific realism and chemistry – Paul Needham

    28. Realism about cognitive science – Mark Sprevak

    29. Scientific Realism and Economics – Harold Kincaid

    PART 5: Broader reflections

    30. Realism and theories of truth – Jamin Asay

    31. Realism and metaphysics – Steven French

    32. Mathematical realism and naturalism – Mary Leng

    33. Scientific realism and epistemology – Alexander Bird

    34. Natural kinds for the scientific realist – Matthew Slater.



    Juha Saatsi is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds, UK.

    'This is a state-of-the-art overview of the debate about scientific realism, a perfect guide for both scholars and graduate students in metaphysics and philosophy of science.'

    Michael Esfeld, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

    "The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realismis indeed and truly an insightful and understandable state-of-the-art presentation of its subject. Though presumably you will be not converted into a realist after reading the whole handbook, it will be harder to resist realist reasoning without further ado. Really recommended."

    Adam Tamas Tuboly, Institute of Philosophy, Hungarian Academy of Sciences