The Instrumentalist's New Clothes

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1200-1211 (2011)
This paper develops a new version of instrumentalism, in light of progress in the realism debate in recent decades, and thereby defends the view that instrumentalism remains a viable philosophical position on science. The key idea is that talk of unobservable objects should be taken literally only when those objects are assigned properties (or described in terms of analogies involving things) with which we are experientially (or otherwise) acquainted. This is derivative from the instrumentalist tradition in so far as the distinction between unobservable and observable is taken to have significance with respect to meaning.
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DOI 10.1086/662267
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References found in this work BETA
J. Ladyman (1998). What is Structural Realism? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
Bertrand Russell (1953). The Cult of 'Common Usage'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 3 (12):303-307.

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