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  1. Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay, Mark Greenwood, Gordon Brittan Jr & Ken A. Aho (forthcoming). Empiricism and/or Instrumentalism? Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Elliott Sober is both an empiricist and an instrumentalist. His empiricism rests on a principle called actualism, whereas his instrumentalism violates this. This violation generates a tension in his work. We argue that Sober is committed to a conflicting methodological imperative because of this tension. Our argument illuminates the contemporary debate between realism and empiricism which is increasingly focused on the application of scientific inference to testing scientific theories. Sober’s position illustrates how the principle of actualism drives a wedge between (...)
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  2. Yann Benétreau-Dupin (2011). An Empiricist Criterion of Meaning. South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):95-108.
    The meaning of scientific propositions is not always expressible in terms of observable phenomena. Such propositions involve generalizations, and also terms that are theoretical constructs. I study here how to assess the meaning of scientific propositions, that is, the specific import of theoretical terms. Empiricists have expressed a concern that scientific propositions, and theoretical terms, should always be, to some degree, related to observable consequences. We can see that the former empiricist criterion of meaning only implies for theoretical terms not (...)
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  3. Lisa Downing (1995). Berkeley's Case Against Realism About Dynamics. In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press. 197--214.
    While De Motu, Berkeley's treatise on the philosophical foundations of mechanics, has frequently been cited for the surprisingly modern ring of certain of its passages, it has not often been taken as seriously as Berkeley hoped it would be. Even A.A. Luce, in his editor's introduction to De Motu, describes it as a modest work, of limited scope. Luce writes: The De Motu is written in good, correct Latin, but in construction and balance the workmanship falls below Berkeley's usual standards. (...)
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  4. Arthur Fine (2008). Epistemic Instrumentalism, Exceeding Our Grasp. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):135 - 139.
    In the concluding chapter of Exceeding our Grasp Kyle Stanford outlines a positive response to the central issue raised brilliantly by his book, the problem of unconceived alternatives. This response, called "epistemic instrumentalism", relies on a distinction between instrumental and literal belief. We examine this distinction and with it the viability of Stanford's instrumentalism, which may well be another case of exceeding our grasp.
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  5. Valerie Gray Hardcastle (1994). The Image of Observables. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (2):585-597.
    This paper challenges a central tenet of constructive empiricism, namely that empirical adequacy has a privileged epistemic status. I argue that perceptions of observables are theory-wrought, and theory-wrought in the same ways as the observation sentences we use to describe those perceptions, van Fraassen can draw no privileged or fundamental distinction between what we observe and interpreting those observations through theory. Since empirical adequacy depends upon accurately describing what we observe, and we have no theory-independent reason to believe that what (...)
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  6. Ronnie Hermens, Quantum Mechanics: From Realism to Intuitionism.
    The interpretation of quantum mechanics has been a problem since its founding days. A large contribution to the discussion of possible interpretations of quantum mechanics is given by the so-called impossibility proofs for hidden variable models; models that allow a realist interpretation. In this thesis some of these proofs are discussed, like von Neumann’s Theorem, the Kochen-Specker Theorem and the Bell-inequalities. Some more recent developments are also investigated, like Meyer’s nullification of the Kochen-Specker Theorem, the MKC-models and Conway and Kochen’s (...)
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  7. Peter Holland (2006). Hidden Variables as Computational Tools: The Construction of a Relativistic Spinor Field. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 36 (3):369-384.
    Hidden variables are usually presented as potential completions of the quantum description. We describe an alternative role for these entities, as aids to calculation in quantum mechanics. This is illustrated by the computation of the time-dependence of a massless relativistic spinor field obeying Weyl’s equation from a single-valued continuum of deterministic trajectories (the “hidden variables”). This is achieved by generalizing the exact method of state construction proposed previously for spin 0 systems to a general Riemannian manifold from which the spinor (...)
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  8. Alan McMichael (1985). Van Fraassen's Instrumentalism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36 (3):257-272.
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  9. Alan Musgrave (1980). Wittgensteinian Instrumentalism. Theoria 46 (2-3):65-105.
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  10. Stathis Psillos (1999). Scientific Realism: How Science Tracks Truth. Routledge.
    Scientific Realism is the optimistic view that modern science is on the right track: that the world really is the way our best scientific theories describe it to be. In his book, Stathis Psillos gives us a detailed and comprehensive study, which restores the intuitive plausibility of scientific realism. We see that throughout the twentieth century, scientific realism has been challenged by philosophical positions from all angles: from reductive empiricism, to instrumentalism and modern skeptical empiricism. Scientific Realism explains that the (...)
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  11. Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). Extending the Argument From Unconceived Alternatives: Observations, Models, Predictions, Explanations, Methods, Instruments, Experiments, and Values. Synthese.
    Stanford’s argument against scientific realism focuses on theories, just as many earlier arguments from inconceivability have. However, there are possible arguments against scientific realism involving unconceived (or inconceivable) entities of different types: observations, models, predictions, explanations, methods, instruments, experiments, and values. This paper charts such arguments. In combination, they present the strongest challenge yet to scientific realism.
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  12. Darrell P. Rowbottom (forthcoming). Scientific Progress Without Increasing Verisimilitude: In Response to Niiniluoto. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
    First, I argue that scientific progress is possible in the absence of increasing verisimilitude in science’s theories. Second, I argue that increasing theoretical verisimilitude is not the central, or primary, dimension of scientific progress. Third, I defend my previous argument that unjustified changes in scientific belief may be progressive. Fourth, I illustrate how false beliefs can promote scientific progress in ways that cannot be explicated by appeal to verisimilitude.
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  13. Darrell P. Rowbottom (2011). The Instrumentalist's New Clothes. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1200-1211.
    This paper develops a new version of instrumentalism, in light of progress in the realism debate in recent decades, and thereby defends the view that instrumentalism remains a viable philosophical position on science. The key idea is that talk of unobservable objects should be taken literally only when those objects are assigned properties (or described in terms of analogies involving things) with which we are experientially (or otherwise) acquainted. This is derivative from the instrumentalist tradition in so far as the (...)
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  14. P. Kyle Stanford (2000). An Antirealist Explanation of the Success of Science. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):266-284.
    I develop an account of predictive similarity that allows even Antirealists who accept a correspondence conception of truth to answer the Realist demand (recently given sophisticated reformulations by Musgrave and Leplin) to explain the success of particular scientific theories by appeal to some intrinsic feature of those theories (notwithstanding the failure of past efforts by van Fraassen, Fine, and Laudan). I conclude by arguing that we have no reason to find truth a better (i.e., more plausible) explanation of a theory's (...)
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  15. Mauricio Suárez & Nancy Cartwright (2007). Theories: Tools Versus Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (1):62-81.
    In “The Toolbox of Science” (1995) together with Towfic Shomar we advocated a form of instrumentalism about scientific theories. We separately developed this view further in a number of subsequent works. Steven French, James Ladyman, Otavio Bueno and Newton Da Costa (FLBD) have since written at least eight papers and a book criticising our work. Here we defend ourselves. First we explain what we mean in denying that models derive from theory – and why their failure to do so should (...)
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  16. Christopher Gordon Timpson (2008). Quantum Bayesianism: A Study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (3):579-609.
    The Bayesian approach to quantum mechanics of Caves, Fuchs and Schack is presented. Its conjunction of realism about physics along with anti-realism about much of the structure of quantum theory is elaborated; and the position defended from common objections: that it is solipsist; that it is too instrumentalist; that it cannot deal with Wigner's friend scenarios. Three more substantive problems are raised: Can a reasonable ontology be found for the approach? Can it account for explanation in quantum theory? Are subjective (...)
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  17. J. O. Wisdom (1971). Four Contemporary Interpretations of the Nature of Science. Foundations of Physics 1 (3):269-284.
    Instrumentalism is an approach to science that treats a theory as a tool and only as a tool for computation; it dispenses with the concept of truth.Conventionalism treats a theory as true by convention if it forms a pattern of observations from which correct predictions can be made.Operationalism denies meaning to the concepts of a theory unless they can be defined operationally. It is argued in this paper that truth-value is indispensable to science, because a theory can be rejected only (...)
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