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Fictions, Inference, and Realism

Suárez, Mauricio (2009) Fictions, Inference, and Realism. [Preprint]

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It is often assumed without argument that fictionalism in the philosophy of science contradicts scientific realism. This paper is a critical analysis of this assumption. The kind of fictionalism that is at present discussed in philosophy of science is characterised, and distinguished from fictionalism in other areas. A distinction is then drawn between forms of fictional representation, and two competing accounts of fiction in science are discussed. I then outline explicitly what I take to be the argument for the incompatibility of scientific realism with fictionalism. I argue that some of its premises are unwarranted, and are moreover questionable from a fictionalist perspective. The conclusion is that fictionalism is neutral in the realism-antirealism debate, pulling neither in favour nor against scientific realism.

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Item Type: Preprint
Suárez, Mauricio
Additional Information: Forthcoming in J. Woods (ed.) Fictions and Models: New Essays. Philosophia Verlag, Munich, 2010.
Keywords: Representation, Fictionalism, Models, Idealisation, Realism, Pragmatism
Subjects: General Issues > Thought Experiments
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Theory/Observation
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
Depositing User: Mauricio Suárez
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2009
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:18
Item ID: 5015

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