Hypothetical realism

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The Hypothetical Realism is a u. a. by Donald T. Campbell , Victor Kraft , Joseph Maria Bocheński and Gerhard Vollmer represented attenuated variant of the epistemological and epistemological position of realism , which assumes that with theoretical concepts, empirical statements and claims to truth no direct ontological associated obligations, but only are hypotheses that may turn out to be wrong. An intuition made more precise by this theory can be ascribed to many empirically working scientists .

A distinction must be made between hypothetical realism and (classical) naive realism (“There is a real world; it is made the way we perceive it”) and critical realism (“There is a real world; but it is not in all features as they appear to us. ") and finally also from scientific realism (" The concepts of a theory refer to real, existing objects. The practical success of these theories establishes that there is a reality and that the theories this reality at least partially correctly describe. ")

In contrast to a so-called naive realism, which assumes that there is exactly one reality that has been prepared with regard to its ontological structure and is at least in principle adequate and clearly recognizable, hypothetical realism weakens this prerequisite:

  1. There is at least one human independent reality.
  2. This reality has a structure according to which causal relationships (cause-effect relationships) exist objectively.
  3. These real structures are at least partially recognizable. (structural realism)

A hypothetical realism v. a. within the framework of an evolutionary epistemology , as it was and is defended by Konrad Lorenz , Rupert Riedl and Gerhard Vollmer .


  • Gerhard Vollmer : Evolutionary Epistemology. (8th edition 2002) Stuttgart 1975.
  • Gerhard Vollmer: What can we know? . Hirzel, Stuttgart 2003. (Excerpt online: Character and range of human cognition ( Memento of November 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) ; in the Internet Archive )
  • Gerhard Vollmer: The condition of the possibility of experience . Apriorism, hypothetical realism and projective epistemology, in: G. Schönrich / Y. Kato (eds.): Kant in the discussion of modernity, Frankfurt / Main: Suhrkamp Verlag 1996, 139–165.