Realism Vs Realism Research Paper

1003 Words 5 Pages
It’s no question that any good scientific theory must adequately explain and predict an observation, however, there is much controversy regarding the attitudes taken towards these theories (DeWitt 71). There are two types of people in the world: realists and instrumentalists, or anti-realists. Realits believe that in order for a theory to be acceptable, it must also “reflect the way things really are,” which is clearly the intuitive way to go (DeWitt 73). The sole aim for realists is to give a true picture of the world, whereas instrumentalists’ think the real goal is for a theory to have empirical adequacy (Okasha 55). For the anti-realist, the matter of whether or not a theory is true is irrelevant if it accurately predicts or describes a …show more content…
This is what most people tend to assume, a scientist discovered a theory to explain a phenomenon, so surely it is correct. However, this is not always the case. In today’s time, of course we regard all our current popular theories as true, but time does tend to take a toll on this. The history of science provides us with countless examples of “scientific theories which were empirically successful in their day but later turned out to be false,” such as Earth-centered universe beliefs (Okasha 60). We won’t be around to know if our beliefs are the way things really are, and we can never know for sure what the future will discover. Anti-realists fighting the ‘no miracles’ argument pushed the realists to come up with the modifications: accepting evidence that is approximately true rather than precisely, and redefining empirical success to include any data that has let us make new predictions about the world (Okasha 61). However, instrumentalists see no reason why modern science might even be on the right track, just like with the wave theory of light primarily from the nineteenth century. The ‘no miracles’ argument makes a valid point, but is only a plausibility. As for all theories and arguments, this is is only one of the possible …show more content…
Of course not. This debate has been going on for centuries. Each side just continues brings up more plausible and convincing, yet not decisive arguments. We have discovered that the real aim of realism is to explain the world as it really is, and instrumentalism strives for empirical adequacy, ignoring accuracy. Most people likely fall towards realism considering unobservable entities such as electrons or quarks are so widely believed in. However, like Ptolemy, it is not uncommon or contradictory to hold a mixture of these beliefs (DeWitt 75). It is completely possible to have realist attitudes towards some theories or subjects, and an anti-realist view about another. The possibilities are endless -- and rather

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