Scientific Realism

A Critical Reappraisal

  • Nicholas Rescher

Part of the Scientific Realism book series (WONS, volume 40)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 1-9
  3. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 10-25
  4. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 26-32
  5. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 55-64
  6. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 76-96
  7. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 97-110
  8. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 111-125
  9. Nicholas Rescher
    Pages 146-155
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 156-169

About this book


The increasingly lively controversy over scientific realism has become one of the principal themes of recent philosophy. 1 In watching this controversy unfold in the rather technical way currently in vogue, it has seemed to me that it would be useful to view these contemporary disputes against the background of such older epistemological issues as fallibilism, scepticism, relativism, and the traditional realism/idealism debate. This, then, is the object of the present book, which will recon­ sider the newer concerns about scientific realism in the context of these older philosophical themes. Historically, realism concerns itself with the real existence of things that do not "meet the eye" - with suprasensible entities that lie beyond the reach of human perception. In medieval times, discussions about realism focused upon universals. Recognizing that there are physical objects such as cats and triangular objects and red tomatoes, the medievels debated whether such "abstract objects" as cathood and triangularity and redness also exist by way of having a reality indepen­ dent of the concretely real things that exhibit them. Three fundamen­ tally different positions were defended: (1) Nominalism. Abstracta have no independent existence as such: they only "exist" in and through the objects that exhibit them. Only particulars (individual substances) exist. Abstract "objects" are existents in name only, mere thought­ fictions by whose means we address concrete particular things. (2) Realism. Abstracta have an independent existence as such.



Authors and affiliations

  • Nicholas Rescher
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1987
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-2528-8
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-3905-9
  • Series Print ISSN 1566-659X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site