David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal for General Philosophy of Science 28 (1):19-53 (1997)
Operationalism and theoretical entities. The thesis of the“theory ladenness” of observation leads to an antinomy. In order to solve this antinomy a technical operationalism is sketched, according to which theories should in principle not contain anything that cannot be reduced to technical procedures. This implies the rejection of Quine's underdeterminacy thesis and of many views about the theoretical-observational distinction, e.g. neopositivistic views, van Fraassen's view, Sneed-Stegmüller's view. Then I argue for the following theses: 1. All scientific concepts are theory laden in the sense that they allow us to anticipate possible experiences, but they have to be in principle fully observable, i.e. integrally convertible into operational-technical applications. 2. The observation/theory distinction can be maintained as a historical one: what is observable depends on the instruments that are available at any stage of the development of science. 3.In principle theoretical entities are empirically real in Hacking's sense. However, some aspects of Hacking's realism are to be criticized. Theoretical entities are to be resolved into the totality of the interrelated properties accessible to us by means of theoretical points of view embodied in scientific instruments.
|Keywords||Hacking observation ontology operationalism reality Stegmüller theory ladenness van Fraassen|
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