Realism, perspectivism, and disagreement in science

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Abstract

This paper attends to two main tasks. First, I introduce the notion of perspectival disagreement in science. Second, I relate perspectival disagreement in science to the broader issue of realism about science: how to maintain realist ontological commitments in the face of perspectival disagreement among scientists? I argue that often enough perspectival disagreement is not at the level of the scientific knowledge claims but rather of the methodological justificatory principles. I introduce and clarify the notion of 'agreeing-whilst-perspectivally-disagreeing' with an episode from the history of modern physics: namely, how we came to agree about the electric charge as a minimal natural unit despite different scientific perspectives and associated data-to- phenomena inferences available for it in the period 1897-1906.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSynthese
Early online date20 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2019
EventICE Dartmouth Seminar - Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
Duration: 16 Apr 201916 May 2019
https://ice.dartmouth.edu/events/realism-perspectivism-and-reality

Keywords

  • realism
  • perspectivism
  • disagreement
  • electric charge
  • data-to-phenomena inferences
  • M. Planck
  • J.J. Thomson

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