Synthese 196 (10):3961-3977 (2019)

Abstract
The decision whether to have a realist or an anti-realist attitude towards scientific hypotheses is interpreted in this paper as a choice that scientists themselves have to face in their work as scientists, rather than as a ‘philosophical’ problem. Scientists’ choices between realism and instrumentalism are interpreted in this paper with the help of two different conceptual tools: a deflationary semantics grounded in the inferentialist approach to linguistic practices developed by some authors, and an epistemic utility function that tries to represent the cognitive preferences of scientists. The first tool is applied to two different questions traditionally related to the problem of scientific realism: the non-miracle argument, and the continuity of reference. The second one is applied to the problem of unconceived alternatives, and to the distinction between realist and instrumentalist attitudes towards scientific hypotheses.
Keywords Deflationism  Non-miracle argument  Continuity of reference  Theoretical concepts  Verisimilitude  Unconceived alternatives
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0988-6
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References found in this work BETA

Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - Cambridge University Press.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
Truth.Paul Horwich - 1998 - Clarendon Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

On the Explanatory Power of Dispositional Realism.Nélida Gentile & Susana Lucero - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.

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