Structural realism versus standard scientific realism: the case of phlogiston and dephlogisticated air
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 180 (2):87 - 101 (2011)
The aim of this paper is to revisit the phlogiston theory to see what can be learned from it about the relationship between scientific realism, approximate truth and successful reference. It is argued that phlogiston theory did to some extent correctly describe the causal or nomological structure of the world, and that some of its central terms can be regarded as referring. However, it is concluded that the issue of whether or not theoretical terms successfully refer is not the key to formulating the appropriate form of scientific realism in response to arguments from theory change, and that the case of phlogiston theory is shown to be readily accommodated by ontic structural realism.
|Keywords||Structural realism Phlogiston Scientific realism|
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Citations of this work BETA
Martin Kusch (2015). Scientific Pluralism and the Chemical Revolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:69-79.
Juha Saatsi (forthcoming). Replacing Recipe Realism. Synthese:1-12.
Katherina Kinzel (2015). Narrative and Evidence. How Can Case Studies From the History of Science Support Claims in the Philosophy of Science? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:48-57.
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Anders Landig (2014). Partial Reference, Scientific Realism and Possible Worlds. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:1-9.
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