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The Hilltop Review

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The Problem Of Nomological Impossibility For Epistemic Structural Realism, Patrick Manzanares May 2015

The Problem Of Nomological Impossibility For Epistemic Structural Realism, Patrick Manzanares

The Hilltop Review

The philosophical view known as Epistemic Structural Realism appeals to the concept of ‘structure’ in order to defend a version of Scientific Realism that nevertheless respects historical considerations of ontological discontinuity between successive scientific theories. It seems that the structures of some scientific theories are only continuous with the structures of successor theories when the former are characterized as nomologically impossible idealizations of the latter, since this continuity involves allowing some quantity in the formal structure of the successor theory to tend towards some physically unrealizable limit. But if this is the case, then the earlier theory cannot be physically ...