BuyQualityEssays.com – Order a similar paper from BuyQualityEssays.com.com (GOOD RATED) The realism debate in 20th-century analytic philosophy of science is classically about the observable/unobservable distinction,

The realism debate in 20th-century analytic philosophy of science is classically about the observable/unobservable distinction, whether such a distinction can be drawn, and what the import of such a distinction might be.  It isn’t just about seeing with our eyes, but rather about sensing with our senses generally speaking.  Realists classically argue that what science says about what we in principle cannot see is just as realistic as the part of science which is about things we can in fact see.  In other words, realists think that we should believe in what science says about what is going on beneath the visible surface.  Note that this seems to be a large part of the task of science, to explain what is going on beneath the surface, indeed at the very bottom if possible.  
 
The anti-realist in some way or another denies that what science says about what we are in principle incapable of observing is to be taken as seriously as what science says about what we can observe.  So the anti-realist discounts talk about what we cannot see in some way.  One way would be to say that sentences involving terms which are supposed to refer to unobservable entities are not literally true or false.  Another way would be to say that while they are literally true or false, we should withhold belief in the “unobservable” part of our theory we should instead remain agnostic, we should say that what science says about the smallest microphysical particles (for instance) is a useful fiction.  It is useful in that it allows us to make predictions about things that we can observe.  It is a fiction because in order to accept the scientific theory, we do not need to believe that what it says about the unobservable realm is actually true.  This is Bas van Fraassen’s view, in a nutshell.  He thinks that all we need to commit ourselves to when we accept a scientific theory is that what the theory says about what is observable is true.  Such a theory he says is “empirically adequate.”