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Title: Scientific realism and theories of reference
Author: Thorsteinsson, Huginn Freyr
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 0696
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Traditionally, scientific realism is divided into three different claims; a metaphysical claim, an epistemic claim and a semantic claim. In this thesis I argue for the importance of developing the semantic notion of reference in answering many of the challenges facing the realist position such as the Pessimistic Meta-induction and semantic incommensurability. I also think that looking more carefully at the idea of reference can prove important in making sense of how a realist can view progress within science. I discuss in detail problems that face any attempt relying heavily on the notion of reference. A prominent attack on this route has been developed by experimental philosophers who express a sceptical attitude towards the semantic theorizing that underpin notions like reference. I argue against their understanding of the issue of reference and develop a, new variation of a well-kn9wn hybrid account of reference proposed by Philip Kitcher. Even though I find that such a developed account shows great promise, I also ask whether it is possible to rely on insights from the causal theory of reference in making sense of the referential status of theoretical terms. I particularly take a closer look at Kitcher's discussion of Joseph Priestley's use of the term 'dephlogisticated air' and see if it fares better than his account. By looking in more detail at Priestley 's experimental achievements I try and make sense of how it could fit into the framework of the causal theory
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available