Ground truth and virtual reality: Hacking vs. Van Fraassen

Philosophy of Science 62 (3):459-478 (1995)
Hacking argues against van Fraassen's constructive empiricism by appeal to features of microscopic imaging. Hacking relies on both our practices involving imaging instruments and the structure of the images produced by these micropractices. Van Fraassen's reply is formally correct yet fundamentally unsatisfying. I aim to strengthen van Fraassen's reply, but must then extend constructive empiricism, specifically the central notion of "theoretical immersion." I argue that immersion is more analogous to entering a virtual reality than to learning a language. This metaphor assimilates instrument-based practice as well as theoretical debate and explanation, and can provide an anti-realist view of our micro-practices consonant with constructive empiricism
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DOI 10.1086/289878
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Jutta Rockmann (1998). Gravitational Lensing and Hacking's Extragalactic Irreality. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (2):151 – 164.
Silvio Seno Chibeni (2005). Discussions Quinton's Neglected Argument for Scientific Realism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):393-400.

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