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Theory and TruthPhilosophical Critique within Foundational Science$
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Lawrence Sklar

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251576.001.0001

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(p.78) 4 Transience
Theory and Truth

Lawrence Sklar (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It is a platitude of scepticism that our theories are never more than transient holders of our scientific esteem, soon to be replaced by newer, incompatible theories. What are some ‘global’ responses one can make to such a version of scepticism? How does science deal with the apparent transience of its best theories in its project of going onward to ever better theoretical characterizations of the world? Given the transience of our theories, how would it be best to characterize our epistemic attitude toward our theories: perhaps as believing them to be the appropriate starting points to be reconstructed as the source of our future theories. Science itself can provide theories about our current best theories as guides to the future.

Keywords:   epistemic attitude, reconstruction, scientific progress, scientific theory, scepticism, theory change, transience

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