Scientific realism against instrumentalism: A defense of devittian scientific realism

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Jeremiah Joven Joaquin

Defense Panel Chair

Napoleon Mabaquiao, Jr.

Defense Panel Member

Robert Roleda
Gansham Mansukhani


This study centers on the issue of scientific realism, the philosophical stance that commits to the reality of unobservable entities posited by scientific theories. Instrumentalism commits only to observable posits and deems convenient fictions the unobservables posited by scientific theories. The tension between the two positions is resolved by the argument from discovery which holds that the reality of the posited unobservable of a scientific theory remains through the lifetime of the theory, and the argument from psychological difference which asserts that the scientific realist has a stronger impetus than the instrumentalist to pursue science that is anchored in existing underlying reality and cognizant of the nature of the human person as a being in the world. Michael Devitt provides a contemporary, grounding philosophy of scientific realism that asserts its strength and viability over instrumentalism. The observational-theoretical distinction of entities, the realist practice of science through history, and the search and inclination of the human person for comprehensiveness and coherence in the world all point to a scientific realist perspective that are explicated in the arguments from discovery and psychological difference and such perspective far outweighs whatever strength instrumentalism possesses. The study also recommends further explorations on the nature of explanation and its work in science and scientific realism.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

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