KITCHER’S MODEST REALISM THE RECONCEPTUALIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVITY

in Scientific Realism and Democratic Society
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Abstract

In Science, Truth, and Democracy (2001a), Kitcher moderates the strongest ontological realist thesis he defended in The Advancement of Science (1993a), with the aim of making compatible the correspondence theory of truth with conceptual relativity. However, it is not clear that both things could be harmonized. If our knowledge of the world is mediated by our categories and concepts; if the selection of these categories and concepts may vary according to our interests, and they are not the consequence of the existence of certain supposed natural kinds or some intrinsic structure of the world, it is very problematic to establish what our true statements correspond to. This paper analyzes the transformation in Kitcher’s realism and expounds the main difficulties in this project. Finally, a modality of moderate ontological realism will be proposed that, despite of keeping the sprit of the conceptual relativity, is strong enough to support the correspondence theory of truth.