Structural realism, scientific change, and partial structures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Scientific change has two important dimensions: conceptual change and structural change. In this paper, I argue that the existence of conceptual change brings serious difficulties for scientific realism, and the existence of structural change makes structural realism look quite implausible. I then sketch an alternative account of scientific change, in terms of partial structures, that accommodates both conceptual and structural changes. The proposal, however, is not realist, and supports a structuralist version of van Fraassen's constructive empiricism (structural empiricism).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-235
Number of pages23
JournalStudia Logica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Constructive empiricism
  • Partial structures
  • Realism
  • Reference
  • Scientific change
  • Structural realism
  • Truth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Logic
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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