Roy Sorensen (left) and Michael Weisberg (right) on idealization and scientific realism.
Idealization is the intentional introduction of distortion into scientific theories. If science aims at the truth, as scientific realists believe, then why are scientific theories routinely idealized? To answer that question, Weisberg take a pluralistic approach. He distinguishes three kinds of idealization (Galilean, minimalist, and multiple-models), and recommends that realists pursue different accounts of each kind. In contrast, Sorensen proposes that realists can develop a unified account of idealization if they can show that idealized scientific theories are merely supposed rather than asserted.