How well do you know scientific realism?



9 Questions

What does scientific realism assert?

What does an ideal scientific theory say about existing entities?

What does scientific realism usually hold about scientific progress?

What do scientific realists believe about the operational success of a theory?

What is the 'miracle argument' or 'no miracles argument'?

What is pessimistic induction?

What is the social constructivist argument against scientific realism?

What is the underdetermination problem?

What is the incompatible models argument?


Scientific Realism: Key Features, Claims, and Arguments

  • Scientific realism asserts that the universe described by science is real regardless of how it may be interpreted
  • An ideal scientific theory says definite things about genuinely existing entities
  • Scientific realism usually holds that science makes progress, i.e. scientific theories usually get successively better
  • Scientific realists believe that the operational success of a theory lends credence to the idea that its more unobservable aspects exist
  • One argument commonly used—the "miracle argument" or "no miracles argument"—starts out by observing that scientific theories are highly successful in predicting and explaining a variety of phenomena, often with great accuracy
  • Pessimistic induction, one of the main arguments against realism, argues that the history of science contains many theories once regarded as empirically successful but which are now believed to be false
  • Realists reply that replacement of particular realist theories with better ones is to be expected due to the progressive nature of scientific knowledge
  • Social constructivists might argue that scientific realism is unable to account for the rapid change that occurs in scientific knowledge during periods of scientific revolution
  • Another argument against scientific realism, deriving from the underdetermination problem, is not so historically motivated as these others
  • According to the incompatible models argument, in certain cases the existence of diverse models for a single phenomenon can be taken as evidence of anti-realism
  • Scientific realism is developed largely as a reaction to logical positivism
  • Scientific realism is related to much older philosophical positions including rationalism and metaphysical realism.


Test your knowledge on scientific realism with this quiz! Explore the key features, claims, and arguments surrounding this philosophical position. From the "miracle argument" to the underdetermination problem, this quiz will challenge your understanding of scientific realism and its relationship to other philosophical positions. Keywords: scientific realism, ideal scientific theory, progress, miracle argument, pessimistic induction, social constructivism, underdetermination problem, logical positivism, metaphysical realism.

Ready to take the quiz?

Start Quiz