Reference invariance and truthlikeness

Philosophy of Science 64 (4):546-554 (1997)
A holistic account of the meaning of theoretical terms leads scientific realism into serious troubles. Alternative methods of reference fixing are needed by a realist who wishes to show how reference invariance is possible in spite of meaning variance. This paper argues that the similarity theory of truthlikeness and approximate truth, developed by logicians since the mid 1970s, helps to make precise the idea of charitable theoretical reference. Comparisons to the recent proposals by Kitcher and Psillos are given. This argument helps to undermine the scepticist meta-induction about theories, and thereby to reevaluate Laudan's alleged confutation of scientific realism
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DOI 10.1086/392571
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Igor Douven (2000). Theoretical Terms and the Principle of the Benefit of Doubt. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (2):135 – 146.
Ilkka Niiniluoto (2014). Representation and Truthlikeness. Foundations of Science 19 (4):375-379.

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