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  1. Arguments From Reference and the Worry About Dependence.Ron Mallon - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):160-183.
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  • The Pessimistic Induction, the Flight to Reference and the Metaphysical Zoo.Michael A. Bishop - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):161 – 178.
    Scientific realism says of our best scientific theories that (1) most of their important posits exist and (2) most of their central claims are approximately true. Antirealists sometimes offer the pessimistic induction in reply: since (1) and (2) are false about past successful theories, they are probably false about our own best theories too. The contemporary debate about this argument has turned (and become stuck) on the question, Do the central terms of successful scientific theories refer? For example, Larry Laudan (...)
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  • A Theory of Conceptual Advance: Explaining Conceptual Change in Evolutionary, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Ingo Brigandt - 2006 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The theory of concepts advanced in the dissertation aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. Traditional accounts in the philosophy of science have usually studied concepts in terms only of their reference; their concern is to establish a stability of reference in order to address the incommensurability problem. My discussion, in contrast, suggests that each scientific concept consists of (...)
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  • Ambiguous Reference.Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos & Ron Mallon - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):145-175.
    One of the central debates in the philosophy of language is that between defenders of the causal-historical and descriptivist theories of reference. Most philosophers involved in the debate support one or the other of the theories. Building on recent experimental work in semantics, we argue that there is a sense in which both theories are correct. In particular, we defend the view that natural kind terms can sometimes take on a causal-historical reading and at other times take on a descriptivist (...)
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  • Against Arguments From Reference.Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
    It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
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  • Arguments From Reference and the Worry About Dependence.Ron Mallon - 2007 - In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Philosophy and the Empirical. Blackwell. pp. 160-183.
    This paper raises concern with the use of theories of reference in philosophical discourse and then to consider the possibility of empirically validating this concern by reference to a novel sort of “quantitative” empirical approach suggested recently by Shaun Nichols (forthcoming). The concern is whether the particular theories of reference or reference relations employed in particular philosophical discussions are actually chosen with a view to entailing or accommodating a desired philosophical outcome. I argue that such dependent selections of assumptions about (...)
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  • Replacing Race: Interactive Constructionism About Racialized Groups.Adam Hochman - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4:61-92.
    In this paper I defend anti-realism about race and a new theory of racialization. I argue that there are no races, only racialized groups. Many social constructionists about race have adopted racial formation theory to explain how ‘races’ are formed. However, anti-realists about race cannot adopt racial formation theory, because it assumes the reality of race. I introduce interactive constructionism about racialized groups as a theory of racialization for anti-realists about race. Interactive constructionism moves the discussion away from the dichotomous (...)
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  • Meta-Incommensurability Between Theories of Meaning: Chemical Evidence.Nicholas W. Best - 2015 - Perspectives on Science 23 (3):361-378.
    Attempting to compare scientific theories requires a philosophical model of meaning. Yet different scientific theories have at times—particularly in early chemistry—pre-supposed disparate theories of meaning. When two theories of meaning are incommensurable, we must say that the scientific theories that rely upon them are meta-incommensurable. Meta- incommensurability is a more profound sceptical threat to science since, unlike first-order incommensurability, it implies complete incomparability.
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  • Varieties of Naturalized Epistemology: Criticisms and Alternatives.Benjamin Bayer - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Illinois
    “Naturalized epistemology” is a recent attempt to transform the theory of knowledge into a branch of natural science. Traditional epistemologists object to this proposal on the grounds that it eliminates the distinctively philosophical content of epistemology. In this thesis, I argue that traditional philosophers are justified in their reluctance to accept naturalism, but that their ongoing inability to refute it points to deeper problems inherent in traditional epistemology. I establish my thesis first by critiquing three versions of naturalism, showing that (...)
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  • Structural Realism Versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air.James Ladyman - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):87 - 101.
    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 (...)
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  • Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account.Jamin Asay - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
    This paper investigates the nature of scientific realism. I begin by considering the anomalous fact that Bas van Fraassen’s account of scientific realism is strikingly similar to Arthur Fine’s account of scientific non-realism. To resolve this puzzle, I demonstrate how the two theorists understand the nature of truth and its connection to ontology, and how that informs their conception of the realism debate. I then argue that the debate is much better captured by the theory of truthmaking, and not by (...)
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  • Race and Reference.Adam Hochman - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):32.
    The biological race debate is at an impasse. Issues surrounding hereditarianism aside, there is little empirical disagreement left between race naturalists and anti-realists about biological race. The disagreement is now primarily semantic. This would seem to uniquely qualify philosophers to contribute to the biological race debate. However, philosophers of race are reluctant to focus on semantics, largely because of their worries about the ‘flight to reference’. In this paper, I show how philosophers can contribute to the debate without taking the (...)
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  • Scientific Realism, Ramsey Sentences and the Reference of Theoretical Terms.Pierre Cruse - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):133 – 149.
    It is often thought that questions of reference are crucial in assessing scientific realism, construed as the view that successful theories are at least approximately true descriptions of the unobservable; realism is justified only if terms in empirically successful theories generally refer to genuinely existing entities or properties. In this paper this view is questioned. First, it is argued that there are good reasons to think that questions of realism are largely decided by convention and carry no epistemic significance. An (...)
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  • Theory-Dependence, Warranted Reference, and the Epistemic Dimensions of Realism.Frederick Kroon - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):173-191.
    The question of the role of theory in the determination of reference of theoretical terms continues to be a controversial one. In the present paper I assess a number of responses to this question (including variations on David Lewis’s appeal to Ramsification), before describing an alternative, epistemically oriented account of the reference-determination of such terms. The paper concludes by discussing some implications of the account for our understanding of both realism and such competitors of realism as constructive empiricism.
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  • Reconsidering the Fresnel–Maxwell Theory Shift: How the Realist Can Have Her Cake and EAT It Too.Juha Saatsi - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (3):509-538.
    This paper takes another look at a case study which has featured prominently in a variety of arguments for rival realist positions. After critically reviewing the previous commentaries of the theory shift that took place in the transition from Fresnel’s ether to Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of optics, it will defend a slightly different reading of this historical case study. Central to this task is the notion of explanatory approximate truth, a concept which must be carefully analysed to begin with. With (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.
    Claims about people's intuitions have long played an important role in philosophical debates. The new field of experimental philosophy seeks to subject such claims to rigorous tests using the traditional methods of cognitive science – systematic experimentation and statistical analysis. Work in experimental philosophy thus far has investigated people's intuitions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. Although it is now generally agreed that experimental philosophers have made surprising discoveries about people's intuitions in each of these areas, (...)
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