SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

What is like to be a perspectival realist. The spectrum analogy
(Philosophy of Science, English)

Perspectival realism (PR) claims that scientific knowledge is historically and culturally situated, and, thus, relative to a particular scientific community from a given historical episode (cf. Massimi 2022). From PR, it follows that there is a plethora of scientific perspectives across the history of science. Now, although there is a historical commitment to epistemic pluralism, defenders of PR try to formulate also a commitment to scientific realism, i.e., that there is, besides the historical situatedness of scientific knowledge, a perspective-independent world (e.g., entities, laws, properties) (cf. Massimi 2018). The issue of integrating the two claims is referred to as "the commitment problem" (CTP) of PR (cf. Cre&_355;u 2020).

One central question of the proposal is "Which is the proper realist commitment PR should take for solving the CTP?" The diagnosis I furnish is that PR is not a single, unique philosophical position; rather, behind PR lurks a spectrum of possible interpretations (many ways of resolving/answers to the CTP) with epistemic pluralism on the left extreme side and traditional scientific realism on the right extreme side of the spectrum. Accordingly, I bring forward four formulations of PR (PR1 __ PR4) in order to solve the challenge of CTP.



I provide a thorough cost-benefit analysis of PR1 - PR4, and I end the presentation with the belief in a positive resolution of the CTP. I shall argue that PR1 (left/pluralist side of the spectrum) seems, at the first glance, to be akin to a form of nominalism, while PR4 (right/ realist side) seems to collapse in a form of traditional scientific realism. Similarly, while PR3 (center of the spectrum, leaning to the right side of the spectrum) seems to generate a friction with the commitment to epistemic pluralism, PR2 (center, leaning to the left) seems to not be realist enough for solving CTP.

Key-words: perspectival realism, epistemic pluralism, scientific realism, the commitment problem

Cre&_539;u, Ana-Maria (2020), "Natural Kinds as Real Patterns: Or How to Solve the Commitment Problem for Perspectival Realism"

Massimi, Michela (2018), "A Perspectivist Better Best System Account of Lawhood"

Massimi, Michela (2022), "Perspectival ontology: between situated knowledge and multiculturalism"


Chair: Oyku Ulusoy
Time: 15:20-15:50, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004
Remark: (Online Talk)

Daian Bica 
(Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Romania/Germany)



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