What is Scientific Realism?

Anjan Chakravartty, Bas C. van Fraassen


Decades of debate about scientific realism notwithstanding, we find ourselves bemused by what different philosophers appear to think it is, exactly. Does it require any sort of belief in relation to scientific theories and, if so, what sort? Is it rather typified by a certain understanding of the rationality of such beliefs? In the following dialogue we explore these questions in hopes of clarifying some convictions about what scientific realism is, and what it could or should be. En route, we encounter some profoundly divergent conceptions of the nature of science and of philosophy.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v9i1.26992