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Constructive Empiricism, Observability, and Three Kinds of Ontological Commitment

Contessa, Gabriele (2006) Constructive Empiricism, Observability, and Three Kinds of Ontological Commitment. [Preprint]

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In this paper, I argue against constructive empiricism that, as far as science is concerned, observability is not an adequate criterion as a guidance of cautious ontological commitment. My argument is in two stages. First, I argue that constructive empiricist choice of observability as a criterion for ontological commitment is based on the assumption that belief in the existence of unobservable entities is unreasonable because belief in the existence of an entity can only be vindicated by its observation. Second, I argue that the kind of ontological commitment that is under consideration when accepting a theory is commitment to what I call a theoretical kind and that observation can vindicate commitment to kinds only in exceptional cases.

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Item Type: Preprint
Contessa, Gabriele
Additional Information: This is the penultimate version of a paper to appear in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. Please quote only from the published version.
Keywords: constructive empiricism; observability; onotological commitment; natural kinds; theoretical kinds
Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Gabriele Contessa
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2650
Subjects: General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: March 2006

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