Philosophy of Science 65 (1):33-49 (1998)

Authors
Stephen Stich
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Michael Bishop
Florida State University
Abstract
The flight to reference is a widely-used strategy for resolving philosophical issues. The three steps in a flight to reference argument are: (1) offer a substantive account of the reference relation, (2) argue that a particular expression refers (or does not refer), and (3) draw a philosophical conclusion about something other than reference, like truth or ontology. It is our contention that whenever the flight to reference strategy is invoked, there is a crucial step that is left undefended, and that without a defense of this step, the flight to reference is a fatally flawed strategy; it cannot succeed in resolving philosophical issues. In this paper we begin by setting out the flight to reference strategy and explaining what is wrong with arguments that invoke the strategy. We then illustrate the problem by considering arguments for and against eliminative materialism. In the final section we argue that much the same problem undermines Philip Kitcher's attempt to defend scientific realism.
Keywords Philosophy of Science
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DOI 10.1086/392625
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References found in this work BETA

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Truth.Paul Horwich - 1998 - Clarendon Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Against Arguments From Reference.Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.
Replacing Race: Interactive Constructionism About Racialized Groups.Adam Hochman - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:61-92.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

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Against Arguments From Reference.Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
Can We Turn a Blind Eye to Eliminativism?Francisco Calvo Garzón - 2001 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (4):485-498.

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