Constructive empiricism, observability, and three kinds of ontological commitment

In this paper, I argue that, contrary to the constructive empiricist’s position, observability is not an adequate criterion as a guide to ontological commitment in science. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the constructive empiricist’s choice of observability as a criterion for ontological commitment is based on the assumption that belief in the existence of unobservable entities is unreasonable because belief in the existence of an entity can only be vindicated by its observation. Second, I argue that the kind of ontological commitment that is under consideration when accepting a scientific theory is commitment to what I call theoretical kinds and that observation can vindicate commitment to kinds only in exceptional cases.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2006.06.007
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References found in this work BETA
Hilary Putnam (1975). The Meaning of 'Meaning'. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Willard V. O. Quine (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Rudolf Carnap (1950). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (2):20--40.
Hilary Putnam (1973). Meaning and Reference. Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):699-711.
Bas C. van Fraassen (2001). Constructive Empiricism Now. Philosophical Studies 106 (1-2):151 - 170.

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Citations of this work BETA
Moti Mizrahi (2014). Constructive Empiricism: Normative or Descriptive? International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (4):604-616.

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