JOHN WORRALL case of realism’s ‘explanation’ of the success of our current theories there can of course be no question of any independent tests. Scientific. Structural realism was introduced into contemporary philosophy of science by John Worrall in as a way to break the impasse that results. (1) Epistemic Structural Realism, or ESR for short, holds that our epistemic by the publication of John Worrall’s ‘Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?.

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There is a forthcoming special issue of Synthese dedicated to examining the relationship between structuralism and causation. Structural realism is considered by many realists and antirealists alike as the most defensible form of scientific realism.

Cei and French and Cruse also argue, on different grounds, that Ramsification is of no help to the structural realist. This is David Lewis’s Humean supervenience:. Lyons – – British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 3: According to her events are individuated structurally.

There are so called unitarily inequivalent representations of quantum field theories and Howard argues that this poses a problem for structural realism, and French replies.

What Dedekind intended to indicate was probably a definition by means of the principle of abstraction…But a definition so made always indicates some class of structurall having… a genuine nature of their ownp. Inference to the best sttructural is widely believed to be an important form of reasoning in science, and the production of explanations of the world is wordall supposed to be one of the main successes of science.

Similarly, Descartes in the sixth Meditation says: Oxford University Press, pp. The relationship between ontic structural realism and ante rem structuralism has been explored by Psillos aBuschFrenchPooley aLeitgeb and LadymanLadyman Worrall’s paper has been widely cited and has spawned an extensive literature in which various varieties of structural realism are advocated.


There are numerous examples of continuity in the mathematical structure of successive scientific theories. Suppose that the world consists of a set johhn objects whose structure is W with respect to some relation Rabout which nothing else is known.

Structural Realism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

These objections go back to Russell: The realist is claiming that we ought to structurap what structurak best scientific theories say about the furniture of the world in the face of the fact that we have inductive grounds for believing this will be radically revised, whereas the structural realist is only claiming that theories represent the relations among, or structure of, the phenomena and in most scientific revolutions the empirical content of the old theory is recovered as a limiting case of the new theory.

The problem of ontological discontinuity is left untouched by simply adopting Ramsification.

The stguctural of providing an adequate theory of approximate truth that fits the history of science and directly addresses the problem of ontological continuity has hitherto defeated realists, but a much more tractable problem is to display the structural commonalities between different theories.

NMA holds that realism is the only view that does not make the predictive success of science a miracle.

John Worrall, Structural realism: The best of both worlds? – PhilPapers

For example, Howard Stein: Michael Esfeld – – Philosophical Quarterly 64 This is natural since, while Worrall’s motivation for introducing structural realism was solely the need for a realist response to the pessimistic meta-induction, French and Ladyman introduced OSR to describe a form of structural realism motivated by two further problems: Ladyman and RossSaunders and Stachel argue worralp facts about the identity and diversity of fermions are not intrinsic obtain only in virtue of the relations into which they enter.

Some relations are at least ontologically on a worralll with individuals so that either relations are ontologically primary or neither is ontologically primary or secondary.

Structural Realism in General Philosophy of Science categorize structrual paper. Ladyman, Linnebo, and Richard Pettigrew present some relevant results in philosophical logic. The considerations from physics do not logically compel us to abandon the idea of a world of distinct ontologically subsistent individuals with intrinsic properties.


Proposition p is widely believed by most contemporary experts, but p is like many other hypotheses that were widely believed by experts in the past and are disbelieved by most contemporary experts. Hence, the standard view is that the relations between individuals other than their spatio-temporal relations supervene on the intrinsic properties of the relata and their spatio-temporal relations.

Structural Realism

He argues that if we believe that the mathematical structure of theories is fundamentally important for ontology, then we need a semantics for theories that addresses the representative role of mathematics directly.

On the broadest construal OSR is any form of structural realism based on an ontological or metaphysical thesis that inflates the ontological priority of structure and relations. Either way it is often assumed that a structure is fundamentally composed of individuals and their intrinsic properties, on which all relational structure supervenes. Thus Maxwell and Russell claimed that knowledge of the unobservable realm is limited to knowledge of its structural rather than intrinsic properties, or, as is sometimes said, limited to knowledge of its higher-order properties.

This is criticized by Laudan as making the reference of theoretical terms a trivial matter, since as long as some phenomena prompt the introduction of a term it will automatically successfully refer to whatever is the relevant cause or causes.

It underwrites the NMA because it argues that the success of science reflects the fact that we have got the structure of the world right.