International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

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Harré needs no realism

Mauricio Suárez

pp. 239-243


It is a pleasure and an honour to comment on this paper by Rom Harré. I remember distinctly my first meeting with Rom, in May 1995, during an interview for a one-year position at Oxford. We were asked for a short presentation as part of the process, and mine was a defence of Reichenbach's views on explaining correlations by common causes. During the discussion it was objected that the logical positivists had no grounds on which to hang the distinction between accidental and law-like correlation. Rom intervened to answer the objection on my behalf: To the extent that the logical positivists had a notion of scientific law, however un-metaphysical or deflationary, they had grounds for the distinction. I was offered the position, and that was a wonderful start to my philosophical career – and a very good year for me indeed. I remember that Rom and I had lunch at Linacre several times during the year but I don't remember the issue of laws of nature coming up again – instead we talked a lot about the differences between model-theoretic and scientific models. I learnt a lot from those discussions (as from discussions with others at Oxford), but what was even more memorable and long-lasting was the optimistic feeling they aroused that my research had a definite house within Oxford "boundaries".

Publication details

Published in:

Soler Léna, Sankey Howard, Hoyningen-Huene Paul (2008) Rethinking scientific change and theory comparison: stabilities, ruptures, incommensurabilities?. Dordrecht, Springer.

Pages: 239-243

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6279-7_17

Full citation:

Suárez Mauricio (2008) „Harré needs no realism“, In: L. Soler, H. Sankey & P. Hoyningen-Huene (eds.), Rethinking scientific change and theory comparison, Dordrecht, Springer, 239–243.