Structural realism and the nature of structure

Jonas R.Becker Arenhart, Otávio Bueno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ontic Structural Realism is a version of realism about science according to which by positing the existence of structures, understood as basic components of reality, one can resolve central difficulties faced by standard versions of scientific realism. Structures are invoked to respond to two important challenges: one posed by the pessimist meta-induction and the other by the underdetermination of metaphysics by physics, which arises in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. We argue that difficulties in the proper understanding of what a structure is undermines the realist component of the view. Given the difficulties, either realism should be dropped or additional metaphysical components not fully endorsed by science should be incorporated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-139
Number of pages29
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Realism
  • Structural realism
  • Structure
  • Underdetermination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science


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