Reference, Success and Entity Realism

Kairos. Revista de Filosofia and Ciência 5:31-42 (2012)
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The paper discusses the version of entity realism presented by Ian Hacking in his book, Representing and Intervening. Hacking holds that an ontological form of scientific realism, entity realism, may be defended on the basis of experimental practices which involve the manipulation of unobservable entities. There is much to be said in favour of the entity realist position that Hacking defends, especially the pragmatist orientation of his approach to realism. But there are problems with the position. The paper explores two issues that reflect negatively on Hacking’s version of the entity realist position. The first issue relates to the role of description in fixing the reference of theoretical terms. The second issue relates to Hacking’s claim that the argument for entity realism based on experiment is a different kind of argument from the standard argument for scientific realism based on the success of science.



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Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne

Citations of this work

Subject and Object in Scientific Realism.Howard Sankey - 2017 - In Paula Angelova, Jassen Andreev & Emil Lensky (eds.), Das Interpretative Universum. Wurzburg, Germany: Konigshausen & Neumann. pp. 293-306.

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References found in this work

The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
A confutation of convergent realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
The Scientific Image by Bas C. van Fraassen. [REVIEW]Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):381-390.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1980 - In Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 211.

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