Fictionalism and the elimination of theoretical terms

Philosophy of Science 39 (3):285-290 (1972)
The claim that theoretical entities are not real, that they are merely convenient fictions, has been defended and attacked in diverse ways. This paper is concerned with only one defense of the fictionalist thesis and with a certain realist attack on it. The defense in question is that theories which prima facie make reference to theoretical entities can be revised in such a way that no such apparent reference is made by eliminating all occurrences of theoretical expressions. It will be argued here that there is a procedure for revising theories which meets certain minimal criteria of adequacy, contrary to arguments in the literature. Further, it will be argued that the existence of this procedure provides neither sufficient nor necessary support for the fictionalist thesis, that this procedure is not of significance in the dispute between the fictionalist and the realist. Whether or not the theoretical-nontheoretical distinction is viable is another story which will not be told here. It will be assumed for the sake of argument that such a distinction can be drawn
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/288450
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,651
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

38 ( #125,386 of 1,902,539 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #329,673 of 1,902,539 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.