In this thesis, I argue that the structural geometric changes in physical theory of the 20th century provide a decisive example which supports the pessimistic meta-induction argument against scientific realism. As a result, I conclude that realism about spacetime and its geometric structure is epistemologically unjustified. The first chapter is an introduction to the project and a general outline of the remaining chapters and their sections. Chapter 2 is devoted to providing the necessary mathematical and scientific background for the argumentation that follows. This includes a detailed account of Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometric systems and their application in physical theory. In chapter 3, I argue in favor of the pessimistic meta-induction argument by appealing to the Newton-Einstein shift, and I offer objections to Robert DiSalle’s spacetime realism. Chapter 4 is a rebuttal of John Worrall’s structural realist position and Arthur Fine’s natural ontological attitude. I argue that the Newton-Einstein shift is a development in the history of science that is inconsistent with structural realism. Lastly, I argue that the natural ontological attitude fails because of a mischaracterization of the relationship between philosophy and science.
|Commitee:||Klein, Alexander, Rosenkrantz, Max|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Philosophy of Science|
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