Journal Article

Theory, Observation and Scientific Realism

Jody Azzouni

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 3, pages 371-392
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.3.371
Theory, Observation and Scientific Realism

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A normative constraint on theories about objects which we take to be real is explored: such theories are required to track the properties of the objects which they are theories of. Epistemic views in which observation (and generalizations of it) play a central role, and holist views which see epistemic virtues as applicable only to whole theories, are contrasted in the light of this constraint. It's argued that global-style epistemic virtues can't meet the constraint, although (certain) epistemic views within which observation (and, more generally, thick epistemic access) are centralized do meet it.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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