Skip Navigation

Brockport / Scholars Day / 2013 / Schedule

Scholars Day: April 10, 2013

Reference and Scientific Realism

Many people hold to both physical realism and biological realism. Physical realism (PR)is the thesis according to which the unobservable entities posited by our most successful physical theories objectively exist. For example, (PR) implies that unobservables like electrons, up- and down-quarks, and photons exist. Biological realism, by contrast, is the thesis according to which (BR), the entities posited by our most successful biological theories objectively exist and cannot be reduced to merely physical entities. Thus, (BR) implies that cells, organs, organisms, and species objectively and irreducibly exist. The present essay does not challenge either (BR) or (PR) per se. Instead, it shows how empirical findings at the border of physics and biology pit (PR)ís primary defense against what seems to be the most important argument for (BR). The consequence is that one must reject either (PR) or (BR) or both.

Presenter: Joseph Long (Faculty)
Topic: Philosophy
Location: 27/29 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)
Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.