Realism, Ramsey sentences and the pessimistic meta-induction

This paper defends scientific realism from the pessimistic meta-induction from past reference failure. It allows that a descriptive theory of reference implies that scientific terms characteristically fail of determinate reference. But it argues that a descriptive theory of reference also implies an equivalence between scientific theories and quantificational claims in the style of Ramsey. Since these quantificational claims do not use any of the referentially suspect scientific terms, they can be approximately true even when those terms fail to refer determinately.Keywords: Science; Realism; Ramsey sentences; Approximate truth; Reference
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.10.002
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Willard V. O. Quine (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
David Lewis (1970). How to Define Theoretical Terms. Journal of Philosophy 67 (13):427-446.

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Pierre Cruse (2004). Scientific Realism, Ramsey Sentences and the Reference of Theoretical Terms. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):133 – 149.

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