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Entity Realism and Natural kinds

Hashemi, Ataollah (2021) Entity Realism and Natural kinds. [Preprint]


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Ian Hacking (1982/1983) advocates a variant of entity realism in which ontological commitments regarding certain unobservable entities used in scientific experiments can be reasonably inferred, giving precedence to experimentation over theories. However, Hacking's theory has faced substantial criticism, with one notable objection from David Resnik (1994). Resnik argues that realism about experimental entities is epistemologically defensible if these entities can be demonstrated to be natural kinds, which are typically identified within a theoretical framework. This objection challenges Hacking's theory by suggesting that a realist stance should be taken toward theories that introduce experimental entities.

In this paper, I contend that Hacking's entity realism, compared to a comprehensive form of scientific realism, offers a more advantageous epistemic standpoint concerning natural kinds. Additionally, I argue that theoretical claims, contrary to Resnik's perspective, are not effective in discerning which entities qualify as natural kinds. Instead, I propose that entity realism is better positioned to determine the types of theoretical entities that can be considered as natural kinds. Consequently, there is no necessity to deviate from a theory-free form of realism to establish the status of experimental entities as natural kinds.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Scientific realism; Entity realism; Natural Kinds
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Natural Kinds
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Mr Ataollah Hashemi
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2023 21:30
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2023 21:30
Item ID: 22672
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Natural Kinds
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 2021

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