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Truth and Realism$
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Patrick Greenough and Michael P. Lynch

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199288878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.001.0001

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Scientific Realism as an Issue in Semantics

Scientific Realism as an Issue in Semantics

Chapter:
(p.125) 6 Scientific Realism as an Issue in Semantics
Source:
Truth and Realism
Author(s):
Christopher Gauker
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199288878.003.0007

This chapter takes issue with the core assumption in Chapter 5 that the debate over scientific realism is primarily about what exists as opposed to how we represent what exists. It argues that a debate over scientific realism is primarily a debate over deep semantic issues – such as the plausibility of the causal theory of reference – a theory that is rejected. The chapter questions the core view that unobservables posited by a theory exist just when the theory has succeeded in giving good explanations. Rather, it often works the other way around: theories are said to give good explanations just when it is found that their posits exist.

Keywords:   scientific realism, truth, theory of reference

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