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Is Structure Not Enough?

Ioannis Votsis
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 70, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart I: Contributed PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2003), pp. 879-890
DOI: 10.1086/377374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/377374
Page Count: 12
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Is Structure Not Enough?
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Abstract

This paper counters an objection raised against one of Bertrand Russell's lesser‐known epistemological views, viz. “structural realism” (SR). In short, SR holds that at most we have knowledge of the structure of the external (i.e., physical) world. M. H. A. Newman's allegedly fatal objection is that SR is either trivial or false. I argue that the accusation of triviality is itself empty since it fails to establish that SR knowledge claims are uninformative. Moreover, appealing to Quine's notion of ontological relativity, I suggest that far from being false, SR knowledge claims seem to be the most that we can hope for.

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