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Raffael Krismer

After completing my degree in Physics and Philosophy at the University in Oxford (2014), I became a member of the DK The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts at the University of Vienna (2015).

My research focuses primarily on the philosophy of science and the philosophy of physics, though I’m also interested in how questions in those areas relate to issues in philosophy of language, as well as philosophy in general (especially, the pragmatist tradition).

Contact details

Research Project: A Pragmatist Approach To The Philosophy of Science

My current research project is an attempt to defend and develop a broadly pragmatist approach to the philosophy of science, specifically, the realism debate.
To a first approximation, the goal of philosophy of science, as I see it, is to figure out how our best scientific theories, typically presented in highly abstract and mathematical terms, furnish our understanding of what the world is like. From a pragmatist perspective, meaning is use, and so questions about “what theories mean” should be viewed as questions about how the mathematical formalisms are deployed in scientific practice(s).

A key moment in this project is the realization that pragmatism itself can take on realist, empiricist, or instrumentalist shadings. These, I argue, need to be clearly distinguished, and therefore we shouldn’t think of pragmatism as a third-player in the traditional realism debate, alongside realism and empiricism. Instead, we should insist that anyone taking a stance in the realism debate is spinning around two axes: subscribing to a theory of meaning plus expressing a specific attitude towards ontological commitment.

Many of these ideas were inspired by recent pragmatist interpretations of quantum mechanics (Richard Healey, 2012). One declared aim of my project is to contribute to the development and defence of this position.

DK Program The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts
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