Metaphorical Models and Scientific Realism

Theories developed on the basis of metaphorical modes and tested and corroborated in confrontation with empirical reality, provide a realistic approximation of reality. This is argued over and against the position of Mary Hesse who sees theorizing as the metaphorical redescription of the domain of the expanandum yet opts for an antirealist or moderate realist position because of her rejection of the existence of universals, natural kinds and essences. It will be argued that the maintenance of a realist stance requires a rejection of the traditional (or absolute) theory of universals and a different construal or reformulation of such a theory in order to escape the relativistic and anti-realist consequences which Hesse's position entails. A realist approach to the metaphorical account of scientific theorizing requires a theory of meaning oriented to and supplemented by a modified theory of universals which recognizes the fact that the underlying classificatory system on which metaphorical reference is based represents more than sociologically determined semantic reality.
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DOI 10.2307/193138
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