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Scientific Realism - Summary
  • A version of the correspondence theory of truth
  • Concerns the nature of scientific knowledge
  • According to the realist view, scientific theories are literally true or false
  • According to the realist, the world around us contains entities with definite properties. These entities have relationships to one another that are independent of us.
  • Though both are scientific views, realists and instrumentalists have different views on the aim of science.
  • The aim of science, according to the realist, is to explain this world by discovering exactly what this structure is. According to the instrumentalist, the aim of science is to make accurate predictions so we can satisfy our human needs.
  • Realists and Instrumentalists also have very different views on how science proceeds.
  • Realists believe that the truth is already there, waiting to be uncovered by the scientist. The Instrumentalist believes that it is up to the scientist to invent the scientific truth.
  • Realists argue that theories give us accurate predictions simply because theories correspond to the way the world is.
  • Most realist scientists will say they are trying to discover what reality is really like: they are trying to figure out what entities really exist and how those entities are really related.

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