Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Realism, philosophy: realism is a collective term for theories which, in principle, believe that it is possible for us to acquire knowledge about objects of the external world that is independent from us as perceptual subjects. A strong realism typically represents the thesis that it would make sense to even create hypotheses about basically unknowable objects. See also metaphysical realism, internal realism, universal realism, constructivism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Bas van Fraassen on Realism - Dictionary of Arguments

I 4
Realism/FraassenVsRealism: inverted error as in positivism: instead of making everything into language, it realizes everything that cannot be defined away. >Positivism.
I 7
((s) VsRealism/Fraassen/(s): realism cannot claim that the present best theory is false, i.e. it is ultimately denying progress.)
I 9
However, the orientation to truth does not imply that we are ever entitled to believe a theory.
I 21
Realism/Best Explanation/Fraassen: every regularity needs an explanation.
Nominalism: there are only regularities, but they do not all have to be explained. >Nominalism.
I 24
Regularities are "mere facts" (or: "naked facts").
I 32f
Sellars: pro Realism - Theory/Sellars: explains not at all, but shows why observable objects obey so-called laws - there are no empirical laws - For example that water boils at 100°C is valid only under normal pressure. - (> Laws/Nancy Cartwright, Theories/Cartwright, Explanations/Cartwright).
I 37
Realism/Dummett: new: realism should not relate classes of entities and expressions, but classes of statements - these can only be understood by reference to the kind thing we would accept as evidence - thus the nominalist becomes a realist.
I 38
Realism/Dummett/Fraassen: this is where Dummett is concerned with language. - According to him, not all sentences must be true/false - but they can be!
Constructive Empiricism: also the constructive empiricism adopts mind-independent truth values.
FraassenVsDummett: this is not about language. >Empiricism.
I 209
Realism/Fraassen pro: we know of some regularities - so there must be underlying reasons - according to Thomas Aquina's proof of God's existence.
>Proof of God's existence.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980

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