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Structural Realism versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air

Ladyman, James (2009) Structural Realism versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air. In: [2008] Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Underdetermination Workshop (Düsseldorf April 10-12, 2008).

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    Abstract

    The aim of this paper is to revisit the phlogiston theory to see what can be learned from it about the relationship between scientific realism, approximate truth and successful reference. It is argued that phlogiston theory did to some extent correctly describe the causal or nomological structure of the world, and that some of its central terms can be regarded as referring. However, it is concluded that the issue of whether or not theoretical terms successfully refer is not the key to formulating the appropriate form of scientific realism in response to arguments from theory change, and that the case of phlogiston theory is shown to be readily accommodated by ontic structural realism.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: ontic structural realism, approximate truth, reference, theoretical terms, phlogiston.
    Subjects: General Issues > Theory Change
    General Issues > Theory/Observation
    General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Conferences and Volumes: [2008] Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Underdetermination Workshop (Düsseldorf April 10-12, 2008)
    Depositing User: Ioannis Votsis
    Date Deposited: 28 May 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:18
    Item ID: 4658
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4658

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