Graduate studies at Western
Synthese 45 (3):317 - 350 (1980)
|Abstract||Tensions between idealism and scientific realism have been resolved by an appeal to the theory/observation distinction. but many who support incommensurability reject the distinction in favor of a version of idealism, e.g., thomas kuhn who supports a version of relativist idealism in which the terms of a theory do refer, but only to a paradigm--relative world of entities. it is argued that the three kinds of idealism depend on a cluster theory of meaning for fixing the reference of scientific terms, and that a realist interpretation of the growth of science must eschew such a theory of meaning. the kripke-putnam theory for reference fixing of theoretical terms is employed to show how one term, 'mass', is referentially invariant despite change in the theory of motion from newton to einstein|
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