Realism is the view that scientific theories describe both the worlds observable and unobservable phenomena (French 90). Realists assume with a reasonably high degree of certainty that scientific theories are true, correctly describe the worlds observable and unobservable phenomena, and define how those things are related (92). Theories must be time-tested, survive falsification, be supported by evidence, and be accepted as truth (or approximate truth) by the scientific community at large (93). Realism is supported by the no-miracles argument. This argument states that realism is the best explanation of scientific advancement due to the rigorous progress of theoretical science. Additionally, realism seeks to investigate the world independent of human observation and accurately describe observable and unobservable phenomena.
The counter to realism is anti-realism, of course. French focuses on three types anti-realists, constructive empiricists, entity realists, and structural realists. Each anti-realist position becomes progressively more defensible and closer in line with the realist position in accepting scientific theories. Constructive realists claim that science can only explain whats visible to the naked eye and, thus, theories are only empirically adequate (109). Entity realists claim that scientific entities of theories (e.g., electrons) have truth value only if they can be manipulated in experimentation (112). Lastly, structural realists claim that scientific theories provide inside into thestructureof unobservable phenomena, but not thenatureof the unobservable (118).
In essence, anti-realists claim that scientific explanations of the world only offer a means of describing the world through processes and entities supposititiously created by humans. To the anti-realist, those scientific processes and entities are only linguistic labels to describe observations. For example, subatomic particles are labels used to describe perceptible physical occurrences. Science is only satisfactory so long as it helps us explain things. But if these observations are only observations and not thetruth, then what is science explaining? There, we see a contradiction. It cant simultaneously explain observation, and suppositious constructs,akanothing.
While each anti-realist position seeks to meet the realist halfway, anti-realists all essentially claim to offer additional levels of skepticism to science, on top of the already rigorous skepticism imposed by scientists themselves. After all, scientific theories are only theories and are validated only through continuous experimentation. While theories offer considerable insight into the nature of the unobservable universe, they can be rejected and disproven. In my view, scientific theories are not only effective descriptors of theunobservable world but do offer insight into nature. If they are not describing the observable and unobservable natural world, what are theories describing? Although the structural realist position almost makes sense to me, is it necessary that we canneverknow the nature of observable phenomena? Is this also not a matter of technology and the progress of science?
Steven French.Science: Key Concepts in Philosophy. Continuum, 2007.EBSCOhost,
For this weeks discussion I chose the article Did the pandemic change our personalities? because I thought it was interesting and easier to analyze. I understand the concepts of realism and anti-realism, as well as instrumentalism, but I do not fully understand constructive empiricism. From what I do understand about it, I think that the article may have elements of that. The article does start off with realist assumptions because it states the environmental stress has never been known to have affected personality traits; however, the article does not point toward any past research regarding such a statement. Is the reading audience supposed to assume this is true because the article was written by the Public Library of Science?
Pessimistic Meta Induction (PMI)
– By the second paragraph, the article is claiming that previous studies have shown that there have not been any significant changes in participant personalities when a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake have occurred. I guess readers are expected to compare a global pandemic to natural disasters which are generally localized, such as occurring in a state, nation, or region. To me this was an example of using scientific history versus enacting the science itself because the researchers have based their findings on historical psychological studies (French 92).
Underdetermination of Evidence by Theory (UTE)
If I am understanding UTE correctly, it is best described as two theories being equal in evidence, so theorists are unable to determine which theory is correct (French 96-97). The theories that the personality changes are based on are from participants in pre-pandemic studies and another study done during the height of the pandemic. The pre-pandemic studies were conducted from May 2014 to February 2020, and the second study was from March 2020 to December 2020, both of which showed little to no changes in personality traits. The results from both studies completed with similar results which gives good reason for researchers to believe that the pandemic and its aftermath were significant contributors to the present-day personality trait changes.
The No Miracles Argument (NMA)
The NMA stance of the article was easy to spot. The best explanation for the personality trait changes was the simplest one it was due to the pandemic. And the realist insists that her argument for realism has the same form as the argument scientists themselves use for accepting one theory over another, namely that that theory offers the best explanation of the phenomenon. (French 101). The results of the studies factored in with the results of past studies made it easier for the researchers to point the finger at the pandemic.
In conclusion, the article was evasive regarding the demographics of the participants in any of the studies. The only demographics that were listed were that they were American of which 41.2% of them were male, and participants ranged in ages 18 to 109. Admittedly, I had to chuckle at the fact that some of the participants were over 100 because they had already been through a pandemic, so of course they might a little more relaxed. With the lack of demographics listed for the study, the article comes off as biased. There were so many other significant factors during that time, especially on the social and political landscapes. This lead me to believe that researchers were being lazily dependent on mature theories. The article further states that most of the changes for the worst appeared in younger adults, with a sharp increase in neuroticism as well as decreases in conscientiousness, while older adults experienced little to zero changes in personality. As an older adult, I can assure readers that todays younger adults face numerous challenges on numerous levels, the least of which being a global pandemic, but that is an argument for another topic.
Public Library of Science. Did the pandemic change our personalities?.
Phys.org. Accessed September 29, 2022.
Science: Key Concepts in Philosophy. Continuum, 2007.
Supplemental Online Readings
hakravartty, Anjan, Scientific Realism. S
tanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Plato.stanford.edu (2017)
An excellent overview of the issues and definitions of scientific realism.
Liston, Michael, Scientific Realism and Antirealism.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Iep.utm.edu (2020)
A good overview of the realism / anti-realism debate.
(3)Musgrace, Alan, “The ‘Miracle Argument’ For Scientific Realism.”
The Rutherford Journal, rutherfordjournal.org (2008)
An overview of the No Miracles Argument for Scientific Realism using historical examples.
tanford, Kyle, “Underdetermination of Scientific Theory.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. plato.stanford.edu (2017)
A good overview of the underdetermination of theory by evidence argument for scientific realism
Supplemental Online Audio/Video
(1) What is Scientific Realism? YouTube, uploaded by Carneades.org, Oct 18, 2015. [5:53]
Need done soon last one flaked.
Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers Lesson Plan
Develop a lesson using a standard or multiple standards
Oklahoma ELA-1.2.PA.2 & 3; 1.2.PWS.1.a & b; 1.2.F.1; 1.6.R.2; 1.2.PC.2; 1.2.SE.1.b
Math-1.GM.1; 1.D.1.1; 1.D.1.2; 1.D.1.3; 1.N.1.3; 1.N.1.7; 1.N.1.8; 1.N.1.1
which uses cues, questions and advance organizers. You may use the Lesson Plan Template and Lesson Plan Example. Although you may choose an alternative lesson plan format, make sure to include the following categories:
Lesson title and grade level
Lesson objectives (no more than five)
Required materials and resources
At the end of your lesson or on a separate page, reflect on your lesson (300- to 400- words). Adhering to APA guidelines, refer to your text and 1-3 outside resources for this assignment. Be sure to cite your sources. Use the following questions to guide your reflection:
How did I use explicit cues at the beginning of the lesson to focus students on the important content to come?
How did I continually ask questions that require students to make inferences and draw upon what they already know?
How did I use a variety of advance organizers appropriately to focus students on the important content?
How did I use advance organizers throughout the instruction as a means to align learning with the intended objective?
How can I use formative and summative assessments with this lesson?
Part B –
nonlinguistic Representation Lesson Plan
Develop a lesson, on a standard or multiple standards that you chose above 1, using nonlinguistic representations. You may use the Lesson Plan Template and Lesson Plan Example. Although you may choose an alternative lesson plan format, make sure to include the following categories:
Required materials and resources (including any technology)
Lesson title and grade level
Lesson objectives (no more than five)
Required materials and resources
At the end of your lesson plan or on a separate page, reflect on your lesson (300- to 400- words). Adhering to APA guidelines, refer to your text and 1-3 outside resources for this assignment. Be sure to cite your sources. Use these questions to guide your reflection:
How did I help students use the six types of graphic organizers (descriptive patterns, time-sequence patterns, process/cause-effect patterns, episode patterns, generalization/principle patterns, and concept patterns)?
How did I use kinesthetic movement to help students elaborate on their learning?
How did I use pictures, illustrations, and pictographs to help students represent their ideas and deepen their understanding?
How can I use a nonlinguistic representation as a formative assessment to demonstrate students knowledge of the objective?