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The Controversy Over Res in Philosophy of Science and the Mysteries of Ontological Neutrality

(Original title: The Controversy Over Res in Philosophy of Science and the Mysteries of Ontological Neutrality)
Filozofia, 2011, vol. 66, No 2, pp. 141-153.
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Clarification of the terms ‘realism’ and ‘antirealism’ has always been a challenging task for philosophers of science, epistemologists, and metaphysicians. The first part of my paper offers a certain classification and critical exposition of realisms in philosophy of science. Next, I take up the issue of finding a middle or natural ground between realism and antirealism. Arthur Fine’s Natural Ontological Attitude is ge- nerally considered as a highly interesting and promising attempt at combining the strengths of the two sides of the debate in philosophy of science while avoiding their excessive “philosophical” claims. I argue that while reconciliatory approaches are definitely welcome in this matter, Fine’s project fails because of its inability to pro- perly handle and carry certain significant and perhaps even indispensable features of realism and antirealism into the new position. Another indication of NOA’s failure is Fine’s notable misrepresentation of the main theses of the two camps that he strives to bring together. The resultant picture of NOA leaves a great deal to be desired because of Fine’s Procrustean treatment and the inadequate ontological account emerging out of it.

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