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Scientific Realism and the Meanings of Theoretical Terms

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In contemporary philosophy of science, there are many interesting arguments for and against scientific realism with regard to the meaningfulness and truthfulness of theoretical statements. Some anti-realists hold that since many important concepts in scientific theories have no specific referents, the relevant theoretical statements are therefore either false or meaningless. In this essay, I join the debates concerning the plausibility of scientific realism by focusing on two intertwined issues: first, that of how we can we explicate the meaningfulness of theoretical statements, especially statements pertaining to unobservable objects, and second, that of the meaningfulness of theoretical statements for our acceptance of scientific realism.


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