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Did Perrin's experiments convert Poincaré to Scientific Realism?

Ivanova, Milena (2013) Did Perrin's experiments convert Poincaré to Scientific Realism? [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that Poincaré’s acceptance of the atom does not indicate a shift from instrumentalism to scientific realism. I examine the implications of Poincaré’s acceptance of the existence of the atom for our current understanding of his philosophy of science. Specifically, how can we understand Poincaré’s acceptance of the atom in structural realist terms? I examine his 1912 paper carefully and suggest that it does not entail scientific realism in the sense of acceptance of the fundamental existence of atoms but rather, argues against fundamental entities. I argue that Poincaré’s paper motivates a non-fundamentalist view about the world, and that this is compatible with his structuralism.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ivanova, Milenamilena.ivanova@bristol.ac.uk
Keywords: Atomism; Fundamentalism; Henri Poincaré; Scientific Realism; Structural Realism
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr Milena Ivanova
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2013 02:10
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2013 02:10
Item ID: 9510
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: March 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9510

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