Entity realism is the view that under conditions in which one can demonstrate impressive causal knowledge of a putative (unobservable) entity, such as knowledge that facilitates the manipulation of the entity and its use so as to intervene in other phenomena, one has good reason for realism regarding it.Now, consider the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is an accelerator in which particles, such as protons, are accelerated to speeds approaching the speed of light and are smashed together.
Does the LHC provide a good reason to be a realist about sub-atomic particles, such as protons?
An entity realist could argue as follows:
- If scientists know how to manipulate phenomena involving theoretical entities, then those entities really do exist.
- Using the LHC, physicists know how to accelerate protons to speeds approaching that of light and smash them together.
- (Therefore) Protons really do exist.