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Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism (New…
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Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism (New Directions in the Philosophy…

by Michael J. Shaffer

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230308457, Hardcover)

Scientific realism is the view that the sciences aim to discover scientific theories that are true, or at least approximately true. Scientific realism is widely accepted by both scientists and philosophers of science. However, in practice - and perhaps even in principle - scientists are forced to simplify theories by idealizing. So some more skeptical philosophers of science have questioned the acceptability of scientific realism because they claim that theories involving idealizations are not even approximately true. This book is an attempt to show that scientific realism is compatible with the presence of idealization in the sciences. The main contention of this book is that idealized theories can be treated as counterfactuals about how things are in worlds that are similar to but simpler than the actual world. So understood it is clear that they have perfectly ordinary truth conditions. So, scientific theories that incorporate idealizations can be true despite the objections of anti-realists.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:05 -0400)

The author attempts to show that scientific realism is compatible with the presence of idealization in the sciences. His main contention is that idealized theories can be treated as counterfactuals about how things are in worlds that are similar to but simpler than the actual world.… (more)

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