Unobservable entities in modern physics: social constructs or real objects?

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Nenablyudaemye sushchnosti sovremennoi fiziki: sotsial'nye konstrukty ili real'nye ob"ekty?
Elena Mamchur
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No.1 (Vol.51)

The  paper deals with   the problem of ontological status of unobservable  entities   of  modern physics. Author considers the question whether they are real objects or social constructs? The first point is being supported by constructive realists; the second one is backed by those who stand by a very influential strategy of the so-called social constructionism. Realists assume that intermediate vector bosons (as well as Higgs boson recently discovered by the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider) do exist in reality before being predicted by the theory of electroweak interaction. They are discovered, not created. In the discourse of social constructionism, the mentioned micro-objects, on the contrary, are being created in the process of a specially set up experiments. The author confirms truthfulness of the realistic approach  by analyzing the well-known in modern history of physics experiment on  discovering  the intermediate vector bosons.

unobservable entities, realism, constructionism, real objects, social constructs, predetermination of scientific notions

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