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Ofer Gal on "The Real Issue: On the Ontology and History of the Modern Realism Debate"


12 Apr 2016 11:00
12 Apr 2016 13:00
Europe/Rome

Prof. Ofer Gal (University of Sydney) will present his research on "The Real Issue: On the Ontology and History of the Modern Realism Debate".

The event is coorganized with the Philosophy of Science group (prof. Raffaella Campaner and prof. Mariacarla Galavotti).

Venue: aula Mondolfo, via Zamboni 38, Bologna.

Paper attached below.

ABSTRACT

THE REAL ISSUE: ON THE ONTOLOGY AND HISTORY OF THE MODERN REALISM DEBATE

OFER GAL (UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY)

This paper studies the historical peculiarities of the modern ‘Scientific Realism Debate’ and the metaphysical assumptions grounding it in its current form. It argues that all positions in the current debate cannot be made sense of without the assumption of an ideal and privileged point of view, external to both science and ‘the real things’, from which both can be observed and compared. It
explains why this is essentially an idealist assumption; and why, as foundations for epistemological discussion, it is in and of itself incoherent. It demonstrates that this confusion did not mar the historical versions of the debate: neither the mediaeval discussions of divine knowledge nor 17th century scientific controversies assumed such a ‘God’s eye point of view’. It also argues for a historicist position: that whereas, in those early modern controversies, anti-realism was a genuine form of skepticism, modern anti-realism is not, and cannot be, a skeptical position. The main realist arguments, however, are aimed against the skeptic, and are therefore off-target.

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