Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Structural Realism, Structuralism and Theory Change (July 3rd 2014)

Idea & Motivation

During the last decades, there have been several developments concerning a formulation of mainly two views within the debate on structural realism, so-called epistemic and ontic structural realism. The former affirms that all our knowledge is structural, but we remain ignorant with respect to the properties of the entities that are part of these structures. Ontic structural realism asserts that all that exists is structure. Following this view, objects only fill places in structures and do not exist independently at a fundamental level.

In this workshop, we will discuss the different forms of structural realism. Furthermore, we will address the topic of theory change in the sciences from a more general perspective.

The aim is to provide answers to open questions in the debate, such as:

  • What is the relation between epistemic and ontic structural realism?
  • How should we represent the notion of structural continuity?
  • Answers to the Newman-Objection.
  • Can structural realism provide a solution to underdetermination problems?
  • Different forms of theory change.
  • How to provide answers to the pessimistic meta-induction.


09:30 - 10:20 Holger Andreas (MCMP/LMU):
"Networks of Partial Structures: A Modular Approach to Paraconsistent Reasoning in Science" 
10:20 - 11:10 Otávio Bueno & Thomas Meier (University of Miami & MCMP/LMU): 
“Pragmatic Structural Realism and the Newman Objection”
11:10 - 11:20 Short Break
11:20 - 12:10 Norbert Gratzl & Georg Schiemer (MCMP/LMU & University of Vienna):
"Applying Carnap's epsilon-reconstruction of theories" 
12:10 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 14:50 Mathias Frisch (University of Maryland): 
"Pragmatic Structuralism and the Domain of Scientific Theories"
14:50 - 15:40 Molly Kao (University of Western Ontario):
"The Role of Quantization: Theory Change in the Old Quantum Theory" 
15:40 - 15:50 Short Break
15:50 - 16:40 Karim Thebault (MCMP/LMU):
“Ontic Structure as a Guide to Quantization“ 
16:40 - 17:30 Sebastian Lutz (MCMP/LMU):
“Structural Realism as a Reducibility Claim“ 
17:30 End of regular workshop
18:00 - 20:00 Steven French (University of Leeds):
"Structure, Stances and Supervenience: Exploring Some Alternatives to OSR"
20:00 Dinner


Library of the Statistics Department
Room 245 (2nd Floor)
Ludwigstraße 33