Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 135–141 | Cite as

Forever beyond our grasp?

Review of P. Kyle Stanford (2006), Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives
  • Patrick ForberEmail author
Book Review

Does science successfully uncover the deep structure of the natural world? Or are the depths forever beyond our epistemic grasp? Since the decline of logical positivism and logical empiricism, scientific realism has become the consensus view: of course our scientific theories apprehend the deep structure of the world. What else could explain the remarkable success of science? This is the explanationist defense of scientific realism, the “ultimate argument.” Kyle Stanford starts here and, using the history of theorizing about biological inheritance as his case study, constructs a convincing argument against the realist consensus in his thought provoking book, Exceeding Our Grasp. 1 Here I will review the core of Stanford’s new argument for instrumentalism and discuss his considered view of theoretical science.

The new argument

Stanford aims to articulate a new and convincing argument for rebelling against the realist consensus based on the historical record and concerns about theory...



I would like to thank Kyle Stanford for entertaining my questions about his views.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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