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From a Deflationary Point of View$
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Paul Horwich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251261

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199251266.001.0001

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On the Nature and Norms of Theoretical Commitment

On the Nature and Norms of Theoretical Commitment

Chapter:
(p.86) 5 On the Nature and Norms of Theoretical Commitment
Source:
From a Deflationary Point of View
Author(s):

Paul Horwich (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199251266.003.0006

This essay opposes two forms of instrumentalism: a stronger and its weaker version. The strong version states that abductive inference is invalid, thus it is legitimate to renounce theoretical belief. It is argued that the instrumentalists’ proposal is incoherent since there is no difference between believing a theory and using it. According to the weaker form, the justification for theoretical belief can be nothing more than pragmatic since abductive inference is invalid. It is argued that contrary to initial appearances, the burden of proving that abductive inference is invalid lies with the instrumentalist and not the realist.

Keywords:   instrumentalism, abductive inference, scientific theory, theoretical belief

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