Scientific Structuralism

pp 105-117


Structural Realism: Continuity and Its Limits

  • Ioannis VotsisAffiliated withPhilosophisches Institut, Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf Email author 

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Structural realism comes in various shapes and sizes. First there is the epistemic kind which holds that at best we can have knowledge of the structure of the world. This comes in two main flavours: à la Ramsey (e.g. John Worrall and Elie Zahar 2001) claiming that the structure of the world is reflected in the Ramsey sentence of successful­ scientific theories and à la Russell (e.g. Ioannis Votsis 2005) claiming that we can infer certain things about the structure of the world from the structure of our perceptions. Then there is the ontic kind which also comes in a multitude of flavours, three of which stand out: (i) the ‘no objects view’ (e.g. James Ladyman 1998) according­ to which there exist no objects only structures, (ii) the ‘no individuals view’ (e.g. Steven French and Decio Krause 2006) which maintains that there exist no individuals but only structures and objects lacking individuality and (iii) the ‘no intrinsic natures view’ (e.g. Ladyman 2007) which eliminates intrinsic natures in favour of haecceity-free individuals and structures.