Critical Scientific Realism

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Oxford University Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 341 pages
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Ilkka Niiniluoto comes to the rescue of scientific realism, showing that reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Philosophical realism holds that the aim of a particular discourse is to make true statements about its subject-matter. Niiniluoto surveys the different varieties ofrealism in ontology, semantics, epistemology, theory construction, and methodology. He then sets out his own original version, and defends it against competing theories in the philosophy of science. Niiniluoto's critical scientific realism is founded upon the notion of truth as correspondencebetween language and reality, and characterizes scientific progress in terms of increasing truthlikeness. This makes it possible not only to take seriously, but also to make precise, the troublesome idea that scientific theories typically are false but nevertheless close to the truth.

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About the author (2002)

Ilkka Niiniluoto is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki.

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