The debate between scientific realism and anti-realism seems like it’s about theory scope

Black swans

I've been thinking again about the realism vs anti-realism debate, about what scientific theories actually tell us about the world. Historically in the philosophy of science, the debate is between realists, who see scientific theories being at least an approximate representation of reality, and instrumentalists or anti-realists, who see those theories as mere prediction frameworks … Continue reading The debate between scientific realism and anti-realism seems like it’s about theory scope

It pays to remember that reality is absurd

Last week the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Aton Zeilinger, for their work in testing quantum entanglement, essentially validating that quantum mechanics is correct about the phenomenon, and eliminating, or at least profoundly minimizing, any possible loopholes. https://twitter.com/NobelPrize/status/1577234271546200064 Of course this set off a lot of physicists … Continue reading It pays to remember that reality is absurd

Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Occam's razor

Jim Al-Khalili has an article at OpenMind attacking Occam's razor, at least in the form it's typically articulated, that the simplest explanation should be preferred. Al-Khalili correctly points out that there are a lot of problems with that version of the principle. Simply preferring the explanation we think is the simplest is often just favoring … Continue reading Don’t throw out Occam’s razor just yet

Scientific theories and prescriptive vs descriptive instrumentalism

Those of you who've known me a while may remember that I dislike accepting philosophical labels. For example, although the labels "materialist" or "physicalist" are more or less accurate descriptions of what I think, they often seem to imply an ideological rigidity I'm not comfortable with. My attitude toward these labels somewhat resonates with Neil … Continue reading Scientific theories and prescriptive vs descriptive instrumentalism