Studia Logica

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 213–235 | Cite as

Structural Realism, Scientific Change, and Partial Structures



Scientific change has two important dimensions: conceptual change and structural change. In this paper, I argue that the existence of conceptual change brings serious difficulties for scientific realism, and the existence of structural change makes structural realism look quite implausible. I then sketch an alternative account of scientific change, in terms of partial structures, that accommodates both conceptual and structural changes. The proposal, however, is not realist, and supports a structuralist version of van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism (structural empiricism).


Structural realism scientific change partial structures realism constructive empiricism truth reference 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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