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Instrumental Theories: Possibilities and Space and Time

  • Ian Hinckfuss
Chapter
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 12)

Abstract

Instrumentalism is the belief that good theories about unobservable things are at best merely instruments for generating new truths from ones that are already known. They are not themselves to be taken as true, but merely as useful in the prediction of observable consequences. Realism is the contrary belief that if there is no known falsehood among the logical entailments of some theory conjoined with any set of known propositions, then that theory and all its ontological implications are to be taken seriously. If what seems to be a truth preserving theory implies the existence of atoms and electrons, then we should believe in atoms and electrons, says the realist. If we do not believe in the existential entailments of a theory, then the theory should be discarded.

Keywords

Noun Phrase Ontological Commitment Natural Deduction Conservative Extension Absolute Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Hinckfuss
    • 1
  1. 1.University of QueenslandAustralia

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