Structural Realism, Then and Now
University of Washington
Henri Poincaré feared that the ephemeral nature of scientific theories could be seen as amounting to the "bankruptcy of science". Recently his defense of scientific solvency has been understood as a kind of realism, structural realism. I begin by sorting realism from objectivity in the background of this conception (Poincaré, Russell, Weyl), and then move to a consideration of its current incarnation and status. I argue that recent versions of structural realism embody a reactionary methodological strategy that runs counter to scientific practice – and counter to common sense.
Thursday, September 16th, 4:30 p.m.