Semantic Challenges to Scientific Realism

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (1):17 - 31 (2011)
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Abstract

This paper is concerned with connections between scientific and metaphysical realism. It is not difficult to show that scientific realism, as expounded by Psillos (1999) clearly qualifies as a kind of metaphysical realism in the sense of Putnam (1980). The statement of scientific realism therefore must not only deal with underdetermination and the dynamics of scientific theories but also answer the semantic challenges to metaphysical realism. As will be argued, the common core of these challenges is the proposition that a (metaphysical) realist semantics leads to semantic agnosticism in the sense that we are unable to grasp the proper meanings and referents of our linguistic expressions. Having established this, I will focus more specifically on the question of whether scientific realism—in its state-of-the-art account—has the resources to make reference to scientific concepts intelligible such that the semantic challenges can be answered.

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Holger Andreas
University Of British Columbia, Okanagan

Citations of this work

Philosophy of Science in Germany, 1992–2012: Survey-Based Overview and Quantitative Analysis.Matthias Unterhuber, Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):71-160.

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References found in this work

Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation.Donald Davidson - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reason, truth, and history.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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