Michela MassimiJul 11, 2022
Oxford University Press 2022
For many philosophers, the fact that scientists take different perspectives on the world is an obstacle to being a realist about the world. In Perspectival Realism (Oxford University Press, 2022), Michela Massimi argues that to the contrary the plurality of perspectives is the driving force behind realism. On her view, the realism that emerges out of the perspectival nature of scientific representation takes perspectival models as inferential blueprints for exploring what is possible. The realist’s primitives are not essential properties, but the stable lawlike dependencies that are identified again and again from different perspectives. Massimi, who is professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, also shows how scientific communities develop “natural kinds with a human face”: evolving groupings of modally robust phenomena that result from historically and culturally situated systems of scientific practices. Massimi’s book constructs a new vision of realism in science that will be highly influential for years to come.
This book is available open access here with the support of the European Research Council.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.