Introduction: Realism and Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science

J. D. Trout

in Measuring the Intentional World

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780195107661
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786152 | DOI:
 Introduction: Realism and Naturalism in the Philosophy of Science

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This introductory chapter leads the reader through the major positions, issues, and disputes in 20th century philosophy of science, and describes the evidential conditions that authorize an argument for realism about the social and behavioral sciences. Realist interpretations of the entities, laws, and theories of the natural sciences have become familiar fare for contemporary philosophers of science. Along with their empiricist and various antirealist opponents, realists draw their evidence exclusively from the mature sciences of physics, chemistry, and biology. However, the cumulative effect has been the nearly universal neglect of the social sciences and psychology in this dispute. It is argued that despite the empiricism taught from textbooks in psychology and the social sciences, only a realist understanding of scientific theories can account for the success of quantitative methods in the social sciences and psychology.

Keywords: realism; antirealism; empiricism; quantitative methods; evidence; natural sciences; psychology; social sciences; behavioral sciences

Chapter.  20347 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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