Eight Myths about Scientific Realism

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Cordero, Alberto
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conference paper description
Selective realist projects have made significant improvements over the last two decades. Judging by the literature, however, antirealist quarters seem little impressed with the results. Section I considers the selectivist case and its perceived shortcomings. One shortcoming is that selectivist offerings are nuanced in ways that deprive them of features that—according to many—cannot be absent from any realism “worth having”. Section II (the main part of the paper) considers eight features widely required of realist positions, none of them honored by selectivist projects. Modulo those requirements, even if selectivists managed to clear other shortcomings of their project selectivism would still not be a position worth considering. Next the historical background and present credentials of the requirements in question are examined. All are found to rest on myths and confusions about science and knowledge. If this is correct, realists and antirealists should reject the requirements.