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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This is the response of Richard Braithwaiteto Eddington’s structuralism. Others who have contributed to structural realism have more explicitly signalled a significant departure from traditional realist metaphysics.

The Ramsey sentence picks out exactly the same entities as the original theory. Christina McLeish criticizes Kitcher’s theory by arguing that there are no satisfactory grounds for making the distinction between referring and non-referring tokens.

When the target of explanation becomes science itself and its history of empirical success as a whole, we arrive at the no-miracles argument famously presented by Hilary Putnam as follows: This is essentially group-theoretic structure. According to Zahar14 the continuity in science is in the intension rather than the extension of its concepts. See also Esfeld and for a Humean take on structural realism, Lyre Jonathan Bain argues that critics of radical ontic structural realism have implicitly relied on a set-theoretic notion of structure and that a category theoretic formulation of ontic structural realism is useful in explicating the structure of physical theories, in particular, general relativity.


The articles in Landry and Rickles eds. The Scientific ImageOxford: Inference to the best explanation is widely believed to be an important form of stuctural in science, and the production of explanations of the world is often supposed to be one of the main successes of science.

The power of the arguments against scientific realism from theory change is that, rather than being a priori and theoretical, they are empirically based and their premises are based on data obtained by examining the practice and history of science.

Michaela Massimi develops a neo-Kantian perspective on structural realism.

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

This is the doctrine that the causal relations that properties bear to other properties exhaust their natures. Esfeld uses this objection in the context of the interpretation of quantum mechanics to pose a dilemma for ontic structural realism. This is criticized by Laudan as making the reference of theoretical terms a trivial matter, since as long as some phenomena prompt the introduction of a term it will automatically successfully refer to whatever is the relevant cause or causes.

Mauro Dorato argues for ESR on the grounds that structural realism needs entity realism to be plausible4.

University of Minnesota Press. Gower’s historical survey of structural realism also discusses how structuralism figures in the thought of Ernst Cassirer, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap and Bertrand Russell. The considerations from physics do not logically compel us to abandon the idea of a world of distinct ontologically worrrall individuals with intrinsic properties.

McArthur argues that structural realism eliminates both theory change in science and scientific discovery. Objections to Structural Realism 6.


Moderate Realism and its LogicYale: The Advancement of ScienceOxford: Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide strudtural initiative. Ramsey and the Vienna Circle, pp.

Structural Realism

Any version of 4 that is combined with 3 arguably makes individual entities ontologically dependent on relational structure see 6 below. In the latter case the problem becomes whether the spacetime points are individuals. Worrall offers ESR as a weaker in terms of epistemic commitments but more justifiable realist position that underwrites both of these arguments, worralk situates itself midway between constructive empiricism and traditional scientific realism.

Worrall’s position in his paper is not explicitly an epistemic one, and other comments suggest a different view: Russell’s and Carnap’s versions of structuralism were more directly motivated by epistemological and semantic problems than by ontological issues arising from physics. Votsis considers examples of continuity and discontinuity in physics.

Alistair Isaac forthcoming argues for structural realism for secondary qualities. Juha Saatsi denies premise a and claims that there struchural be approximate truth of the causal roles postulated by realiem scientific theory without its central terms necessarily successfully referring see also Chakravartty, Ztructural basic problem is that structure is not sufficient to uniquely pick out any relations in the world.

French replies arguing that for a structuralist objects just are literally coincidences and nothing more.