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Partial structures and ontic structural realism: from happy allies to strange bedfellows

Grant number: 22/15992-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): May 22, 2023
Effective date (End): May 21, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Itala Maria Loffredo D'Ottaviano
Grantee:Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo
Supervisor: Matteo Morganti
Host Institution: Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência (CLE). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy  
Associated to the scholarship:21/11381-1 - Quasi-realism: combining quasi-truth and scientific realism, BP.PD

Abstract

According to a relevant version of structural realism, viz. ontic structural realism, we should believe in the existence of structures that represent empirical phenomena. Their primary motivations are to respond to the pessimistic meta-induction and the underdetermination problem. Such a significant version of structural realism calls for adopting partial structures to resolve the latter. We use a current examination of non-relativistic quantum mechanics to illustrate the relevant issues, and argue that the concept of quasi-truth involves an epistemological conception embedded in the formulation of partial structures. At issue here are inseparable theses that are not often acknowledged. Formulated in terms of quasi-truth, the structural realist approach to underdetermination states that we can accept (but not believe) each of the quantum theories insofar as they are all quasi-true, i.e., empirically adequate. A significant shift away from belief and truth has been implemented. But the distinctions between belief and acceptance as well as between representation and empirical adequacy are characteristic of empiricism not of realism. In the end, structural realism cannot use partial structures if it wants to remain a realist stance. (AU)

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