Three Kinds of Pluralism about Scientific Ontology


Location: 220 Malloy

Anjan Chakravartty, Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto

What ontology of the world is revealed by our best science? On even the most optimistic view of the epistemic credentials of the sciences ­- scientific realism ­- the answer is yet unclear. This paper investigates one aspect of the question of how realists should conceive of scientific ontology. I argue that between the implausible extremes of naïve realism and full-blown constructivism, the realist must come to grips with three forms of pluralism: one concerning the ways in which scientists "package" properties into entities; another concerning the precise metaphysical natures of these entities; and another concerning the context relativity of their behaviour.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program

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