Scientific realism : what it is, the contemporary debate, and new directions

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


First, I answer the controversial question ’What is scientific realism?’ with extensive reference to the varied accounts of the position in the literature. Second, I provide an overview of the key developments in the debate concerning scientific realism over the past decade. Third, I provide a summary of the other contributions to this special issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-484
Number of pages34
Issue number2
Early online date7 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

I should like to thank Lingnan University for supporting the conference on which this special issue is based, and the attendees of the conference for the discussions that prompted this contribution. I should also like to thank the RGC for funding my recent work on scientific realism (via a Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship, ‘The Instrument of Science’). Finally, I am grateful to Patrick McGivern for useful comments on a previous version of this piece.


  • Scientific anti-realism
  • Scientific progress
  • Scientific realism
  • Selective realism


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