Theory-conjunction and mercenary reliance

Philosophy of Science 59 (2):231-245 (1992)
Scientific realists contend that theory-conjunction presents a problem for empiricist conceptions of scientific knowledge and practice. Van Fraassen (1980) has offered a competing account of theory-conjunction which I argue fails to capture the mercenary character of epistemic dependence in science. Representative cases of theory-conjunction developed in the present paper show that mercenary reliance implies a "principle of epistemic symmetry" which only a realist can consistently accommodate. Finally, because the practice in question involves the conjunction of theories, a version of realism more robust than the "entity realism" of Cartwright (1983, 1989) and Hacking (1983) is required to explain the success of theory-conjunction
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DOI 10.1086/289664
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A. Kukla (1995). The Two Antirealisms of Bas Van Fraassen. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 26 (3):431-454.

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