Salmon and Van Fraassen on the existence of unobservable entities: A matter of interpretation of probability [Book Review]

Foundations of Science 11 (3):221-247 (2006)
A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to statements claiming the existence of unobservable entities are inferences to probabilistic statements, whence the crucial importance of the interpretation of probability.
Keywords induction  interpretation of probability  Salmon W.C  scientific realism  van Fraassen B.C
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