The Real Issue: What is the Realism Debate Really About?

This project develops a radical re-interpretation of the metaphysical assumptions grounding the modern Scientific Realism Debate. It argues that all positions in the debate cannot be made sense of without the assumption of an ideal and privileged point of view, external to both science and the real things, from which both can be observed and compared. It explains why this is true of both more traditional Realism and Anti-Realism, as well as the relatively recent Structural Realism; why this is essentially an idealist assumption; and why, as foundations for epistemological discussion, it is in and of itself incoherent. The project explores historical occasions in which realist and anti-realist positions were coherent and debatable, as well as the only current true realist position: Bruno Latour's historicist hyper-realism.

KEY PUBLICATIONS:

Gal, O., Controversies over Controversies: An Ontological Perspective on the Place of Controversy in Current Historiography. In: Han-liang Wang and Marcelo Dascal (eds.), Controversies: East and West. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (2007): 267-280.

Gal, O., Constructivism for Philosophers. Perspectives on Science 10.4 (2003): 523-549.

Research Team:
Ofer Gal