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Muller & Seevinck: Structuralism in Physics


The view is a weakening of ordinary realism so as not to fall prey to the pessimistic meta-induction over the history of science, whilst still being able to appeal to explain the technological and empirical success of our theories, rather than accept it as a miracle. The view has focused mainly on physics, because in physics both of the mentioned arguments are most convincing. What is Structural Realism? With respect to specific physical theories a specific formulation is sought, that in the end hopefully generalizes to the entire body of physical knowledge and perhaps even to all of scientific knowledge. We shall focus on two physical theories: quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity. We shall propose a formulation of structural realism in resounding principles and indicate connexions with analytic metaphysics (about Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernible and the nature of properties) and the philosophy of mathematics (about the nature of structure and identity of and in structures). An astounding and encompassing programme in philosophy is emerging as we speak.

F.A. Muller (1962): studied theoretical physics and philosophy in Amsterdam (1983-1989), PhD: Structures for Everyone (1990-1998) and VENI-postdoc (2000-2004) in Utrecht, VIDI-postdoc (2005-2009) and scientific researcher (2010) in Rotterdam.

M.P. Seevinck (1977): studied theoretical physics and philosophy in Nijmegen and Utrecht (1996-2002), PhD Parts and Wholes (2002-2008) in Utrecht and VENI-postdoc (2010) in Nijmegen.

Laatst gewijzigd:30 oktober 2012 20:39