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Episteme

Abstract

Contrary to believing in scientific realism, the author provides a defense of scientific phenomenalism, which holds that only things that we can perceive can be counted as things that exist. The author agrees with W. T. Stace, who holds that science does not explain but merely describes and predicts. Such an understanding suggests that scientists go beyond their bounds when they support the existence of certain theoretical (non-observable) entities—things like quarks and warped spacetime. When such “things” are just mathematical constructs, it becomes easier to comprehend the nature of light, the Higgs mechanism, the electro and magnetic fields, and even the bold, albeit confusing, supersymmetry theory. Likely as beneficial to capital S science as Popper’s falsificationism, scientific phenomenalism, when compared to realism, is more concise, less confusing, and better at describing the continued usefulness of rejected theories.

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