Scientifically Defending Realism II: Maddy’s Piecemeal Realism



In this chapter, I discuss Maddy’s piecemeal realism, as she exemplifies it with regard to the debate on the ontological status of atoms that was provoked by Perrin’s seminal experiments in the early twentieth century. By considering the central experiments in some detail, by contrasting Maddy’s reading of these experiments with van Fraassen’s, and by reconstructing the arguments proposed by Perrin and Poincaré for the reality of the atom, I argue that the gap between empirical research on the one hand and scientific realism on the other cannot be closed.


Maddy Piecemeal realism van Fraassen Perrin Poincaré Reality of the atom Scientific realism Naturalism  


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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