A new argument for scientific realism

Date

2010-04-12T18:26:22Z

Authors

Forbes, Curtis Joseph

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

The debate between scientific realism and constructive empiricism is often cast in terms of a debate over what it is "rational" to accept about successful scientific theories. I cast this debate differently: I place these conflicting philosophies of science within our current political context, asking the question "which of these philosophies gives us the conceptual tools we need to allow science to adequately inform our public policy decisions?" I argue that most cases of long-term planning based on current science. such as curbing carbon emissions based on global warming theory. are decisions that can only be made if we approach scientific theories realistically. This vindicates the project of developing a realist epistemology, for only by inquiring into the truth with respect to unobservables can we make adequately informed public policy decisions.

Description

Keywords

Scientific realism, Constructive empiricism

Citation