|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.|
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Realism/Hacking: I m a realist - I believe that there are electrons because we can "spray" them (experiment).
Theory realism/Russell/Hacking: has shown that theoretical entities can be mere logical constructions -. e.g. quarks are shorthand for a complex expression - ((s) do not to exist seperately.
Theory realism: theories are independent of our knowledge t/f - anti-realism: theories are at best justified, but never believable.
There are electrons not because they are the building blocks, but because they stand in certain causal chains - building blocks do not explain anything.
Realism/Hacking: all the problems with realism only arise because we have alternate representation systems.
Einführung in die Philosophie der Naturwissenschaften Stuttgart 1996