On Mizrahi’s Argument Against Stanford’s Instrumentalism

Axiomathes 29 (2):103-125 (2019)
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Mizrahi’s argument against Stanford’s challenge to scientific realism is analyzed. Mizrahi’s argument is worth of attention for at least two reasons: unlike other criticisms that have been made to Stanford’s view so far, Mizrahi’s argument does not question any specific claim of Stanford’s argument, rather it puts into question the very coherence of Stanford’s position, because it argues that since Stanford’s argument rests on the problem of the unconceived alternatives, Stanford’s argument is self-defeating. Thus, if Mizrahi’s argument is effective in countering Stanford’s view, it may be able to question the validity of other philosophical positions which similarly rest on the problem of the unconceived alternatives; Mizrahi’s argument against Stanford’s view is in part based on the development of a Stanford-like argument for the field of philosophy. This makes Mizrahi’s argument potentially relevant to the metaphilosophical debate. After careful examination, Mizrahi’s argument against Stanford’s instrumentalism is found wanting. Moreover, a Stanford-like argument is developed, which aims at challenging the metaphilosophical stance implied by Mizrahi’s argument against Stanford’s instrumentalism.

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Fabio Sterpetti
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza


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