Scientific realism

Can we claim to know anything about reality? Is it a goal of science to describe reality? Does science make any progress at describing reality? This outline focuses on the issues of metaphysical progress from science, while the Outline on the scientific method discusses the epistemological foundations and limitations of science.

This could have been called the outline of “Metaphysics” or “The realism debate.”


  1. Metaphysics
    1. Introduction
    2. Conceptual distinctions
    3. Criticism
  2. Realism and antirealism
    1. Introduction
    2. Ancient skepticism
    3. Early modern skepticism
    4. Modern skepticism
    5. Contemporary skepticism
  3. Humeanism and necessity
    1. Necessitary connections
    2. Laws of nature
    3. Humean supervenience
  4. Idealism
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Criticism
    4. Discussion
  5. Instrumentalism
    1. First pass
    2. History
    3. Discussion
  6. Scientific realism
    1. First pass
    2. Challenges to scientific realism
    3. Superseded theories in science
    4. Realist rebutals
    5. No miracles argument
    6. Scientific progress
  7. Positivism
    1. Introduction
    2. Theses
    3. Early positivism
    4. The Vienna Circle
    5. The Berlin Circle
    6. Later positivism
    7. Neopositivism
  8. Postpositivism
    1. Introduction
    2. Attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction
    3. Attack on the verification theory of meaning
    4. Duhem-Quine thesis
    5. Theory change
    6. Ordinary language philosophy
    7. The “death” of positivism
    8. Lasting influence of positivism
    9. Realist turn
  9. Pragmatism
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Discussion
  10. Postmodernism
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Discussion
    4. Criticism
  11. Constructive empiricism
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Discussion
    4. Criticism
  12. Structural realism
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Discussion
    4. Criticism
  13. Feminist epistemology
    1. Introduction
    2. History
    3. Discussion
    4. Criticism
  14. Critical realism
    1. Introduction
  15. Active realism
    1. Introduction
  16. My thoughts
    1. My defense of realism
  17. Annotated bibliography
    1. Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.
    2. Moore, G.E. (1925). A Defense of Common Sense.
    3. Carnap, R. (1928). The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy.
    4. Carnap, R. (1936). Testability and Meaning.
    5. Reichenbach, H. (1938). Experience and Prediction.
    6. Carnap, R. (1950). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology.
    7. Quine, W.V. (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism.
    8. Reichenbach, H. (1951). The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.
    9. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical Investigations.
    10. Carnap, R. (1955). The Logical Foundations of the Unity of Science.
    11. Carnap, R. (1956). The Methodological Character of Theoretical Concepts.
    12. Popper, K.R. (1959). The Logic of Scientific Discovery.
    13. Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
    14. Maxwell, G. (1962). The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities.
    15. Sellars, W. (1963). Science, Perception, and Reality.
    16. Feyerabend, P. (1974). Against Method.
    17. Bhaskar, R. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science.
    18. Putnam, H. (1975). The Meaning of Meaning.
    19. van Fraassen, B. (1980). The Scientific Image.
    20. Laudan, L. (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism.
    21. Putnam, H. (1981). Reason, Truth, and History.
    22. More articles to do
  18. Links and encyclopedia articles
    1. SEP
    2. IEP
    3. Wikipedia
    4. Others
    5. Videos
  19. References



When one encounters the word “metaphysics,” what is usually meant is one of the three following ideas:


[T]he attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought.

van Inwagen:

The word ‘metaphysics’ is derived from a collective title of the fourteen books by Aristotle that we currently think of as making up Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle himself did not know the word. (He had four names for the branch of philosophy that is the subject-matter of Metaphysics: ‘first philosophy,’ ‘first science,’ ‘wisdom,’ and ‘theology.’) At least one hundred years after Aristotle’s death, an editor of his works (in all probability, Andronicus of Rhodes) titled those fourteen books “Ta meta ta phusika”—“the after the physicals” or “the ones after the physical ones”—the “physical ones” being the books contained in what we now call Aristotle’s Physics. The title was probably meant to warn students of Aristotle’s philosophy that they should attempt Metaphysics only after they had mastered “the physical ones,” the books about nature or the natural world.1

Stealing from

In medieval and modern philosophy “metaphysics” has also been taken to mean the study of things transcending nature—that is, existing separately from nature and having more intrinsic reality and value than the things of nature—giving meta a philosophical meaning it did not have in classical Greek.

Especially since Immanuel Kant metaphysics has often meant a priori speculation on questions that cannot be answered by scientific observation and experiment. Popularly, “metaphysics” has meant anything abstruse and highly theoretical—a common eighteenth-century usage illustrated by David Hume’s occasional use of metaphysical to mean “excessively subtle.” The term has also been popularly associated with the spiritual, the religious, and even the occult. In modern philosophical usage metaphysics refers generally to the field of philosophy dealing with questions about the kinds of things there are and their modes of being. Its subject matter includes the concepts of existence, thing, property, event; the distinctions between particulars and universals, individuals and classes; the nature of relations, change, causation; and the nature of mind, matter, space, and time.

Conceptual distinctions


See also:

Realism and antirealism


Ancient skepticism

Figure 1: Depiction of the scene in the Allegory of the Cave.

Aquinas on truth:

Moreover, that there is truth is self-evident, because whoever denies that there is truth concedes that there is truth, for if there is no truth, then it is true that there is no truth. But if something is true, then it follows that there is truth.6

Early modern skepticism

Modern skepticism


A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.9


On Exactitude in Science

… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

—Suárez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, 165810

Schrödinger quoting Schopenhauer:

The world extended in space and time is but our representation.11

Contemporary skepticism


Just ’cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.16

See also:

Humeanism and necessity

Necessitary connections


See also:

Laws of nature

Humean supervenience

Humean supervenience is named in honor of the great denier of necessary connections. It is the doctrine that all there is to the world is a vast mosaic of local matters of particular fact, just one little thing and then another.21




See also:


See also:



With realism and antirealism being one of the oldest dichotomies of positions in philosophy, a way of classifying the tension in more recent philosophy is between instrumentalism and scientific realism, each with many varieties. First let’s look at instrumentalism.

First pass

Theoretical concepts may have use in predicting observations, but we have no ontological commitments to them.

See also:




There is an enormous gap between so-called analytic philosophy which broadly agrees that there is something special about science and scientific method, and tries to pin down exactly what it is, and the modern continental tradition which is deeply suspicious of science and its claims to truth and certainty, and generally espouses a cultural relativism that derives from Nietzsche and goes all the way to the postmodern extremes of Derrida and his ilk. There is also the social constructivism that sees scientific facts as mere ‘social constructions’ and is a direct offshoot of the continental relativism. But the analytic tradition itself divides sharply between instrumentalism and realism, the former seeing theories in physics as mathematical ‘black boxes’ linking empirical input with empirical output, while the latter seeks to go behind the purely observational data, and reveal something at least of the hidden ‘theoretical’ processes that lie behind and explain the observational regularities.26

Scientific realism

First pass

Some attempts at definitions:

Science makes real progress in describing real features of the world.


To a very rough, first approximation, realism is the view that our best scientific theories correctly describe both observable and unobservable parts of the world.27


Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude towards the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences.28


What Helmholtz then asserted, in his classic essay “On the Facts of Perception,” is that the inference to a hypostasized reality lying behind the appearances goes beyond what is warranted by the lawfulness obtaining among appearances. Indeed, all localizations of objects in space are really nothing more than the discovery of the lawfulness of the connections obtaining among our motions and our perceptions. The difference between what is genuinely perceived and its realistic interpretation is just the difference between the regularities in our perceptions and the hypothesis of enduring, substantial sources of the perceived regularities (Helmholtz 1977, 138–140).30


Correspondence theories which treat truth as a relation between language and reality are the only theories of truth compatible with realism.31

The realist aim for science is to discover the truth, or the approximate truth, or the truth with some associated degree of error, about not only the observable aspects of the world but also its unobservable aspects. Associated with this is the elimination of error, or its minimization, while truth is maximized. While the pursuit of science may increase our ability to control the environment, or to predict observable phenomena, these are secondary pursuits compared with the realist’s aim of acquiring (approximately) true theories.32

Challenges to scientific realism

The primary dichotomy of positions is between forms of scientific realism and instrumentalism.

Figure 2: Scientific realism vs antirealism (, my tweet, 2014).

See also:

Superseded theories in science


At first blush it seems to us that the theories last only a day and that ruins upon ruins accumulate. Today the theories are born, tomorrow they are the fashion, the day after tomorrow they are classic, the fourth day they are superannuated, and the fifth they are forgotten.35


Realist rebutals


Every successful physical theory swallows its predecessor alive.37


Our arguments have to be about the world we experience, not about a world made of paper.38


There is a difference, however, between working crossword puzzles and the pursuit of higher mathematics. In the case of mathematics, you don’t triumph over the capricious machinations of another human being (the designer of the puzzle) but, rather, over the absolute fabric of logical relations. The body of knowledge you have developed has the enviable characteristic of being demonstrably and absolutely true, given the set of assumptions (axioms) underlying your contemplations, irrespective of the foibles of your own human limitations, indeed, irrespective of the existence of humanity itself. And, as an added bonus, if it should so happen that the set of axioms on which your intellectual fortress is built is somehow relevant to the physical world, then you can even walk away with a deeper understanding of your natural surroundings. The wonder of group theory is that its relevance to the disciplines of both mathematics and natural science far exceeds the self-contained boundaries within which it was first developed.39

No miracles argument

There are older forms of the argument, but Putnam’s first phrasing that magnified the discussion, when he claims that

realism is the only philosophy that doesn’t make the success of science a miracle.40

Scientific progress

See also:



Positivism is a philosophy of science and epistemology that roughly defends a qualified empiricism, that the scientific method is the only route to knowledge, and that all statements that cannot be empirically verified are meaningless. Positivism is strongly eliminative about metaphysics and claims that many metaphysical questions and positions are not open or false, but meaningless because of their lack of attachment to empirically demonstrable things or effects.


Logical positivism: a form of positivism, developed by members of the Vienna Circle, that considers that the only meaningful philosophical problems are those that can be solved by logical analysis.


According to the best known, traditional form of instrumentalism, terms for unobservables have no meaning all by themselves; construed literally, statements involving them are not even candidates for truth or falsity (cf. a more recent proposal in Rowbottom 2011). The most influential advocates of this view were the logical empiricists (or logical positivists), including Carnap and Hempel, famously associated with the Vienna Circle group of philosophers and scientists as well as important contributors elsewhere. In order to rationalize the ubiquitous use of terms which might otherwise be taken to refer to unobservables in scientific discourse, they adopted a non-literal semantics according to which these terms acquire meaning by being associated with terms for observables (for example, “electron” might mean “white streak in a cloud chamber”), or with demonstrable laboratory procedures (a view called “operationalism”). Insuperable difficulties with this semantics led ultimately (in large measure) to the demise of logical empiricism and the growth of realism. The contrast here is not merely in semantics and epistemology: a number of logical empiricists also held the neo-Kantian view that ontological questions “external” to the frameworks for knowledge represented by theories are also meaningless (the choice of a framework is made solely on pragmatic grounds), thereby rejecting the metaphysical dimension of realism (as in Carnap 1950).43

This means that positivism is generally seen to imply antirealist views of science and mathematics, preferring as Carnap says in “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”:

Empiricists are in general rather suspicious with respect to any kind of abstract entities like properties, classes, relations, numbers, propositions, etc. They usually feel much more in sympathy with nominalists than with realists (in the medieval sense). As far as possible they try to avoid any reference to abstract entities and to restrict themselves to what is sometimes called a nominalistic language, i.e., one not containing such references.44

Positivists have instrumentalist (antirealist) views about the models science produces, given that they are constructed from abstractions and involve the epistemological limitations of induction and theory change. As a qualified sort of empiricism that supports the primacy of the scientific method, positivism is sometimes equated with scientism (often derogatorily) if one takes it to claim that science is the only way to attain knowledge.


Modern analytical empiricism […] differs from that of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume by its incorporation of mathematics and its development of a powerful logical technique. It is thus able, in regard to certain problems, to achieve definite answers, which have the quality of science rather than of philosophy. It has the advantage, in comparison with the philosophies of the system-builders, of being able to tackle its problems one at a time, instead of having to invent at one stroke a block theory of the whole universe. Its methods, in this respect, resemble those of science.45


If we say, as was frequently said of old, that metaphysics is the theory of “true being,” of “reality in itself,” of “transcendent being” this obviously implies a (contradictory), spurious, lesser, apparent being; as has indeed been assumed by all metaphysicians since the time of Plato and the Eleatics. This apparent being is the realm of “appearances,” and while the true transcendent reality is to be reached only with difficulty, by the efforts of the metaphysician, the special sciences have to do exclusively with appearances which are perfectly accessible to them. The contrast in cognizability of these two “modes of being” is then explained by the fact that the appearances are immediately known, “given,” to us, while metaphysical reality must be inferred from them in some roundabout manner. And thus we seem to arrive at a fundemental concept of the positivists, for they always speak of the “given,” and usually formulate their fundamental principle in the proposition that the philosopher as well as the scientist must always remain within the given, that to go beyond it, as the metaphysician attempts, is impossible or senseless.46

In a more general sense, positivism is aligned with naturalism, the meta-philosophy that roughly says that science should inform and bootstrap our philosophical claims. Naturalists, having a more broadly aligned and various support for science, may not have such exclusive views of epistemology or such eliminative views of metaphysics. Many naturalists are instead realists about science, math, and/or ethics, for example following a version of structural realism about the discoveries from science, capturing and constraining real structures in nature.


contemporary philosophers promote a kind of naturalism, and by so doing they follow both the precept and the example of the logical empiricists.47


  1. Hume’s fork, the analytic/synthetic distinction
  2. Verification theory of meaning: the meaning of a proposition is the means to verify it. All statements that cannot be empirically verified in principle are meaningless.
    • AKA the Verification Principle
    • Scheinproblem = Pseudo-problem
  3. Carnap’s principle of tolerance
    • In LSL48
    • Leitgeb49
  4. Unity of science
    • Potochnik, A. (2011). A Neurathian conception of the unity of science.50

TODO: list thesis from the Vienna Circle manifesto.

Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected. In science there are no ‘depths’ there is surface everywhere: all experience forms a complex network, which cannot always be surveyed and, can often be grasped only in parts. Everything is accessible to man; and man is the measure of all things. Here is an affinity with the Sophists, not with the Platonists; with the Epicureans, not with the Pythagoreans; with all those who stand for earthly being and the here and now. The scientific world-conception knows no unsolvable riddle. Clarification of the traditional philosophical problems leads us partly to unmask them as pseudo-problems, and partly to transform them into empirical problems and thereby subject them to the judgment of experimental science. The task of philosophical work lies in this clarification of problems and assertions, not in the propounding of special ‘philosophical’ pronouncements. The method of this clarification is that of logical analysis.51


Stating the meaning of a sentence amounts to stating the rules according to which the sentence is to be used, and this is the same as stating the way in which it can be verified (or falsified). The meaning of a proposition is the method of its verification.52


The fundamental principle of the positivist then seems to run: “Only the given is real.”53


From an historical perspective, logical positivism represents a linguistic version of the empiricist epistemology of David Hume (1711-76). It refines his crucial distinctions of “relations between ideas” and “matters of fact” by redefining them relative to a language \(L\) as sentences that are analytic-in-\(L\) and synthetic-in-\(L\), respectively. His condition that significant ideas are those which can be traced back to impressions in experience that gave rise to them now became the claim that synthetic sentences have to be justified by derivability from finite classes of observation sentences.54


Early positivism

Bernard Bolzano

Auguste Comte

J.S. Mill summarizing Comte’s positivism:

The fundamental doctrine of a true philosophy, according to M. Comte, and the character by which he defines Positive Philosophy, is the following:—We have no knowledge of anything but Phaenomena; and our knowledge of phaenomena is relative, not absolute. We know not the essence, nor the real mode of production, of any fact, but only its relations to other facts in the way of succession or of similitude. These relations are constant; that is, always the same in the same circumstances. The constant resemblances which link phaenomena together, and the constant sequences which unite them as antecedent and consequent, are termed their laws. The laws of phaenomena are all we know respecting them. Their essential nature, and their ultimate causes, either efficient or final, are unknown and inscrutable to us.55

Comte on the unknowability of the composition of stars:

On the subject of stars, all investigations which are not ultimately reducible to simple visual observations are … necessarily denied to us. While we can conceive of the possibility of determining their shapes, their sizes, and their motions, we shall never be able by any means to study their chemical composition or their mineralogical structure … Our knowledge concerning their gaseous envelopes is necessarily limited to their existence, size … and refractive power, we shall not at all be able to determine their chemical composition or even their density… I regard any notion concerning the true mean temperature of the various stars as forever denied to us.56

(He was wrong!)

Ernst Mach

Franz Brentano

Ludwig Boltzmann

Gottlob Frege

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein studied with, was influenced by, and influenced:

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)60

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [is] the only philosophy book that Wittgenstein published during his lifetime. It claimed to solve all the major problems of philosophy and was held in especially high esteem by the anti-metaphysical logical positivists. The Tractatus is based on the idea that philosophical problems arise from misunderstandings of the logic of language, and it tries to show what this logic is. Wittgenstein’s later work, principally his Philosophical Investigations, shares this concern with logic and language, but takes a different, less technical, approach to philosophical problems. This book helped to inspire so-called ordinary language philosophy.61

Wittgenstein’s scientific attitude summarized in the Vienna Circle manifesto:

“What can be said at all, can be said clearly” (Wittgenstein)68

Wittgenstein explaining the point of the Tractatus in a letter to Russell:

The main point is the theory of what can be expressed (gesagt) by propositions—i.e. by language (and, which comes to the same thing, what can be thought) and what can not be expressed by propositions, but only shown (gezeigt); which, I believe, is the cardinal problem of philosophy.69


The realism implicit in the idea of answerability to the world contrasts with a pragmatist approach, such as that advocated by Richard Rorty, according to which subjects are answerable in judgement not to the world, but to other judging subjects.70

Later Wittgenstein made a significant shift. See Ordinary language philosophy.

Frank P. Ramsey

Emile Durkheim

The Vienna Circle

Figure 3: Left: The entrance to the Mathematical Seminar at the University of Vienna, at Boltzmanngasse 5, the meeting place of the Vienna Circle during their regular Thursday meetings. Right: The Vienna Circle’s manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung: Der Wiener Kreis (1929).


The Berlin Circle

TODO: Note any differences between:

Later positivism

Carnap on language and ontology

Carnap in ESO:

An alleged statement of the reality of the system of entities is a pseudo-statement without cognitive content. To be sure, we have to face at this point an important question; but it is a practical, not a theoretical question; it is the question of whether or not to accept the new linguistic forms. The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion. It can only be judged as being more or less expedient, fruitful, conducive to the aim for which the language is intended.112

Some more Carnap works:


Neurath’s boat


Duhem has shown with special emphasis that every statement about any happening is saturated with hypotheses of all sorts and that these in the end are derived from our whole world-view. We are like sailors who on the open sea must reconstruct their ship but are never able to start afresh from the bottom. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood, the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstruction.119


There is no way to establish fully secured, neat protocol statements as starting points of the sciences. There is no tabula rasa. We are like sailors who have to rebuild their ship on the open sea, without ever being able to dismantle it in dry-dock and reconstruct it from the best components. Only metaphysics can disappear without trace. Imprecise ‘verbal clusters’ [‘Ballungen’] are somehow always part of the ship. If imprecision is diminished at one place, it may well re-appear at another place to a stronger degree.120


Neurath has likened science to a boat which, if we are to rebuild it, we must rebuild plank by plank while staying afloat in it. The philosopher and the scientist are in the same boat. If we improve our understanding of ordinary talk of physical things, it will not be by reducing that talk to a more familiar idiom; there is none. It will be by clarifying the connections, causal or otherwise, between ordinary talk of physical things and various further matters which in turn we grasp with help of ordinary talk of physical things.121

See also:


On logical empiricism and Reichenbach at UCLA:

Part of the movement’s legacy lies in contemporary philosophy of science. In the US nearly all philosophers of science can trace their academic lineages to Reichenbach. Most were either his students or students of his students and so on. His scientific realism inspired a generation of philosophers, even those clearly outside the movement. Even the reaction against various forms of realism that have appeared in recent decades have roots in the logical empiricist movement. Moreover, philosophers of science are expected to know a great deal of the science about which they philosophize and to be cautious in telling practicing scientists what concepts they may or may not use. In these respects and others contemporary philosophers promote a kind of naturalism, and by so doing they follow both the precept and the example of the logical empiricists.122


Among his many students were Hempel, Putnam, and W. Salmon, and so almost all philosophy of science in the US can trace its academic lineage to Reichenbach. Though interested in social and educational reform, he worked primarily in philosophy of physics. He developed and defended a frequency theory of probability, and emphasized both scientific realism and the importance of causality and causal laws.123


Reichenbach on probability:

locates the probability objectively “out in nature” so to speak, and this comports well with Reichenbach’s scientific realism.126


Final words of Ladyman and Ross (2007):

Of all the main historical positions in philosophy, the logical positivists and logical empiricists came closest to the insights we have urged. Over-reactions to their errors have led metaphysicians over the past few decades into widespread unscientific and even anti-scientific intellectual waters. We urge them to come back and rejoin the great epistemic enterprise of modern civilization.131


See also:



Various reactions to positivism.

Attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction

Among the developments that led to the revival of metaphysical theorizing were Quine’s attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction, which was generally taken to undermine Carnap’s distinction between existence questions internal to a framework and those external to it.134

Quine on our pale gray lore:

The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. In our hands it develops and changes, through more or less arbitrary and deliberate revisions and additions of our own, more or less directly occasioned by the continuing stimulation of our sense organs. It is a pale grey lore, black with fact and white with convention. But I have found no substantial reasons for concluding that there are any quite black threads in it, or any white ones.136

Carnap remained optimistic about his views of analyticity, intension, and meaning:

Bar-Hillel points out that the semantical theory of meaning developed recently by logicians is free of these drawbacks. He appeals to the linguists to construct in an analogous way the theory of meaning needed in their empirical investigations. The present paper indicates the possibility of such a construction. The fact that the concept of intension can be applied even to a robot shows that it does not have the psychologistic character of the traditional concept of meaning.137


The revolt against the dualism of the analytic and the synthetic rests on a confusion of the logical analysis of (artificially fixed) languages with the historical investigation of (growing, shifting natural) languages.138

Attack on the verification theory of meaning


Against positivism, which would stand by the position “There are only facts,” I would say: no, there are precisely no facts, only interpretations. We can establish no fact “in itself”: it is perhaps nonsense to want such a thing. You say “Everything is subjective”: but that is already an interpretation, the “subject” is not anything given, but something invented and added, something stuck behind… To the extent that the word “knowledge” [Erkenntnis] has any sense, the world is knowable: but it is interpretable differently, it has no sense behind it, but innumerable senses, “perspectivism.” It is our needs that interpret the world: our drives and their to and fro. Every drive is a kind of domination, every one has its perspective, which it would force on all other drives as a norm.146

Duhem-Quine thesis



What is recorded as the result of an experiment or observation is never the bare fact perceived, but this fact as interpreted by the help of a certain amount of theory.154

See also:

Theory change

Ordinary language philosophy

Wittgenstein in PI:

Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language.165


Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (4.5): “The general form of propositions is: This is how things are.” — That is the kind of proposition one repeats to oneself countless times. One thinks that one is tracing nature over and over again, and one is merely tracing round the frame through which we look at it.166

See also:

The “death” of positivism

Clarke & Primo:

Following Suppe (2000), we date the demise of logical positivism to March 26, 1969—opening night of the Illinois Symposium on the Structure of Scientific Theories.173


The most important defect was that nearly all of it was false.174


Logical positivism was progressive compared with the classical positivism of Ptolemy, Hume, d’Alembert, Compte, John Stuart Mill, and Ernst Mach. It was even more so by comparison with its contemporary rivals—neo-Thomisism, neo-Kantianism, intuitionism, dialectical materialism, phenomenology, and existentialism. However, neo-positivism failed dismally to give a faithful account of science, whether natural or social. It failed because it remained anchored to sense-data and to a phenomenalist metaphysics, overrated the power of induction and underrated that of hypothesis, and denounced realism and materialism as metaphysical nonsense. Although it has never been practiced consistently in the advanced natural sciences and has been criticized by many philosophers, notably Popper (1959 [1935], 1963), logical positivism remains the tacit philosophy of many scientists. Regrettably, the anti-positivism fashionable in the metatheory of social science is often nothing but an excuse for sloppiness and wild speculation.175

Positivism vs critical theory:

Lasting influence of positivism

Much ado is made about positivism being “dead,” but its influence is still promenent in philosophy, sociology, and public administration.


Carnap’s influence, in particular, also extended much further: to the widespread application of logical and mathematical methods to philosophical problems more generally, especially in semantics and the philosophy of language. Indeed, as is well known, the ideas of the logical positivists exerted a very substantial influence well beyond the boundaries of professional philosophy, particularly in psychology and the social sciences. It is not too much to say, therefore, that twentieth-century intellectual life would be simply uncrecognizable without the deep and pervasive current of logical positivist thought.178


Carnap is a towering figure. I see him as the dominant figure in philosophy from the 1930’s onward, as Russell had been in the decades before.179


Carnap was my greatest teacher… I was very much his disciple for six years. In later years his views went on evolving and so did mine, in divergent ways. But even where we disagreed he was still setting the theme; the line of my thought was largely determined by problems that I felt his position presented.180

See also:

Realist turn


Instrumentalism can be formulated as the thesis that scientific theories—the theories of the so-called ‘pure’ sciences—are nothing but computational rules (or inference rules); of the same character, fundamentally, as the computation rules of the so-called ‘applied’ sciences. (One might even formulate it as the thesis that “pure” science is a misnomer, and that all science is ‘applied.’) Now my reply to instrumentalism consists in showing that there are profound differences between “pure” theories and technological computation rules, and that instrumentalism can give a perfect description of these rules but is quite unable to account for the difference between them and the theories.188


As is well known, conceptual objects have been the undoing of traditional empiricism as well as of vulgar materialism, for they are neither distillates of ordinary experiences nor material objects or properties thereof. To be sure, the empiricist may claim that there are no conceptual objects aside from mental events. But he cannot explain how different minds can grasp the same conceptual objects and why psychology is incapable of accounting for the logical, mathematicaland semantical properties of constructs. And the vulgar materialist (nominalist) will likewise discard conceptual objects and speak instead of linguistic objects—e.g. of terms instead of concepts and of sentences instead of propositions. But he is unable to explain the conceptual invariants of linguistic transformations (e.g. translations) as well as the fact that linguistics presupposes logic and semantics rather than the other way round. Therefore we cannot accept either the empiricist or the nominalist reduction (elimination) of conceptual objects any more than we can admit the idealist claim that they are ideal beings with an autonomous existence. We must look for an alternative consistent with both ontological naturalism and semantical realism.189


The Causal-Theoretic Reply to Incommensurability

Assuming the causal theory of reference, one might reply to the incommensurability thesis somewhat as follows. The meaning, in the sense of ‘sense,’ of scientific terms may well vary in the course of theoretical change. However, it does not follow that reference must also vary as a result of such change of meaning. For reference is not determined by sense, but by causal chains which link the present use of terms with initial baptisms at which their reference was fixed. So reference does not vary with the changes of descriptive content which occur during theoretical change. Hence, reference is held constant across theoretical transitions, and theories may be compared by means of reference. Thus, there is no referential discontinuity, no incomparability of content, and no incommensurability.190





The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real. That is the way I would explain reality.


Hence, the sole object of inquiry is the settlement of opinion. We may fancy that this is not enough for us, and that we seek not merely an opinion, but a true opinion. But put this fancy to the test, and it proves groundless; for as soon as a firm belief is reached we are entirely satisfied, whether the belief be false or true.198


Max Hodak:

Consider the following interpretation of the dichotomy between science and engineering: if you can directly see and manipulate the things you’re dealing with, you’re doing engineering, and if not—you need to ask clever indirect questions to get at what you’re really interested in—you’re doing science.





See also:



Many influential thinkers—Wittgenstein and Rorty included—have suggested that there are powerful considerations in favor of a relativistic view of epistemic judgments, arguments which draw on the alleged existence of alternative epistemic systems and the inevitable norm-circularity of any justification we might offer for our own epistemic systems. Although such arguments may seem initially seductive, they do not ultimately withstand critical scrutiny. Moreover, there are decisive objections to epistemic relatiism. It would seem, then, that we have no option but to think that there are absolute, practice-independent facts about what beliefs it would be most reasonable to have under fixed evidential conditions.

It remains a question of considerable importance—and contemporary interest–whether, given a person’s evidence, the epistemic facts always dictate a unique answer to the question what is to be believed or whether there are cases in which they permit some rational disagreement. So there is a question about the extent of the epistemic objectivism to which we are committed. But it looks as though we have every reason to believe that some version or other of such an objectivist view will be sustainable without fear of paradox.204

See also:

Constructive empiricism


Science aims to give us theories that are empirically adequate, but does not justify metaphysical claims about reality.


Bas van Fraassen (b. 1941):

Figure 4: True vs literal theories (, 2015).

Otavio Bueno:

Christian Hennig:

See also:



Structural realism


Science has identified real patterns, relationships, and structures (at least within a regime) in nature.


Plato’s Phaedrus:

Socrates: … [There are] two kinds of things the nature of which it would be quite wonderful to grasp by means of a systematic art.

Phaedrus: Which things?

Socrates: The first consists in seeing together things that are scattered about everywhere and collecting them into one kind, so that by defining each thing we can make clear the subject of any instruction we wish to give. Just so with our discussion on love: Whether its definition was or was not correct, at least it allowed the speach to proceed clearly and consistently with itself.

Phaedrus: And what is the other thing you are talking about, Socrates?

Socrates: This, in turn, is to be able to cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints, and to try not to splinter any part, as a bad butcher might do.213


Helmholtz-Weyl Principle (HW): Different effects (i.e. percepts) imply different causes (i.e. stimuli/physical objects).214


[W]hat is objective must be common to many minds and consequently transmissible from one to the other. … [P]ure quality … is intransmissible… . But it is not the same with relations… From this point of view, what is objective is … only pure relation.215




Feminist epistemology



See also:


See also:


Critical realism


Critical realists believe that there are unobservable events which cause the observable ones; as such, the social world can be understood only if people understand the structures that generate such unobservable events.

Active realism


My thoughts

Here, I plan to summarize my thoughts after finishing the analysis of several sources below.

Ways to phrase the issue:



Slides for my talk: Machine learning and realism (2017)

My defense of realism

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Annotated bibliography

Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

  • TODO: The meaning of language is a picture of affairs.

My thoughts

  • TODO

Moore, G.E. (1925). A Defense of Common Sense.

  • “Here is one hand.”
  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Carnap, R. (1928). The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy.

  • Der logische Aufbau der Welt
  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Carnap, R. (1936). Testability and Meaning.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Reichenbach, H. (1938). Experience and Prediction.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Carnap, R. (1950). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology.

  • Carnap (1950)

1. The problem of abstract entities

  • Empiricists tend to prefer to restrict themselves to nominalistic language – without containing references to abstract entities.
  • Formalists view mathematics as a mechanistic calculus without interpretation, but physics seems to lend its own interpretation.

In physics it is more difficult to shun the suspected entities because the language of physics serves for the communication of reports and predictions and hence cannot be taken as a mere calculus.

  • A physicist may declare some parts of a theory as uninterpretable.
  • Carnap says his purpose is to clarify that empiricists can accept a language referring to abstract entities without embracing platonic ontologies.

2. Linguistic frameworks

  • Carnap defines linguistic frameworks, internal vs external questions (internal to the framework or about the metaphysical world), and the world of things.

To recognize something as a real thing or event means to succeed in incorporating it into the system of things at a particular space-time position so that it fits together with the other things as real, according to the rules of the framework.

  • Carnap distinguishes that only the philosopher (not the man on the street nor the scientist) asks the external questions about reality outside the linguistic framework.
  • Carnap goes on about what it means to accept the thing language. The system can be constructed by introducing new language expressions (as a sequence of typedefs, as he seems to mean).

3. What does acceptance of a kind of entities mean?

4. Abstract entities in semantics

5. Conclusion

My thoughts

  • Sometimes I feel like Carnap repeats his theses though as if that helps support them. He says over and over that accepting a thing in a language is practical matter, not a theoretical/metaphysical one, which I agree with to a degree. But then that leaves us on the edge of a lot of semantic cliffs, saying “but what do our abstract entities mean?” or rather, “what does their scientific success mean?”
  • In the end, my impression is that I’m still not satisfied with nominalism. I feel like the road to addressing Carnap, the issues he should have acknowledged, is that some of our abstract classes are super fucking natural. The success of some instances of our abstract internal languages should lead one, through the same methods of scientific inference that we do within the internal language, to do abduction to natural kinds in the external world. To deny the likely success of that abduction is to plead that there is a conspiracy.
  • The map is not the territory (Jorge Luis Borges).

Quine, W.V. (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism.

1. Background for analyticity

  • TODO

2. Definition

3. Interchangeability

4. Semantical rules

5. The verification theory and reductionism

6. Empiricism without the dogmas

My thoughts

  • TODO

Reichenbach, H. (1951). The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical Investigations.

  • TODO: The meaning of lanuage is its use.

My thoughts

  • TODO

Carnap, R. (1955). The Logical Foundations of the Unity of Science.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Carnap, R. (1956). The Methodological Character of Theoretical Concepts.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Popper, K.R. (1959). The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Maxwell, G. (1962). The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Sellars, W. (1963). Science, Perception, and Reality.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Feyerabend, P. (1974). Against Method.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Bhaskar, R. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Putnam, H. (1975). The Meaning of Meaning.

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

van Fraassen, B. (1980). The Scientific Image.

“Arguments Concerning Scientific Realism”

  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

Laudan, L. (1981). A Confutation of Convergent Realism.

1. The Problem

2. Convergent Realism

3. Reference and Success

4. Approximate Truth and Success: the ‘Downward Path’

5. Approximate Truth and Success: the ‘Upward Path’

6. Confusions About Convergence and Retention

7. The Realists’ Ultimate ‘Petitio Principii’

8. Conclusion

My thoughts

  • TODO

Putnam, H. (1981). Reason, Truth, and History.

  • Brain in a vat thought experiment.
  • TODO

My thoughts

  • TODO

  • Putnam, H. (1982). Three Kinds of Scientific Realism.
  • Putnam, H. (1982). Why There Isn’t a Ready-Made World.
  • Fine, A. (1984). The Natural Ontological Attitude.
  • Fine, A. (1984). And Not Anti-Realism Either.
  • Musgrave, A. (1989). Noah’s Ark Fine for Realism.
  • Worrall, J. (1989). Structural Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?
  • Laudan, L. (1990). Demystifying Underdetermination.
  • Dennett, D. (1991). Real Patterns.
  • Ladyman, J. (1998). What is Structural Realism?
  • Bueno, O. (1999). What is Structural Empiricism?
  • Psillos, S. (1999). Scientific Realism: How science tracks truth.
  • Psillos, S. (2000). The Present State of the Scientific Realism Debate.
  • Chang, H. (2001). Realism Beyond Footstamping.
  • van Fraassen, B. (2001). Constructive Empiricism Now.
  • Hacking, I. (2006). Natural Kinds.
  • Chakravartty, A. (2007). A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism.
  • Psillos, S. (2007). Choosing the Realist Framework.
  • Bueno, O. (2008). Structural Realism, Scientific Change, and Partial Structures.
  • Bain, J. (2009). Towards Structural Realism.
  • Ladyman, J. & Ross, D. (2009). Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.
  • Psillos, S. (2009). On Reichenbach’s argument for scientific realism.
  • Psillos, S. (2010). Scientific Realism: Between Platonism and Nominalism.
  • Frigg, R. & Votsis, I. (2011). Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Structural Realism But Were Afraid to Ask.
  • French, S. & Ladyman, J. (2011). In Defense of Ontic Structural Realism.
  • Mizrahi, M. (2012). Pessimistic Induction: A Bad Argument Gone Too Far.
  • Psillos, S. (2012). One Cannot Be a Little Bit Realist: Putnam and van Fraassen.
  • Landry, E. & Rickles, D. (2012). Structural Realism.
  • Ross, D., Ladyman, J., & Kincaid, H. (2013). Scientific Metaphysics.
  • French, S. (2014). The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation.
  • Tegmark, M. (2014). Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality.







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  2. Quine (1948).↩︎

  3. Ney (2014).↩︎

  4. Ladyman, Ross, Spurrett, & Collier (2007).↩︎

  5. Plato, Republic VII 514–520, Cooper & Hutchinson (1997), p. 1132–7.↩︎

  6. Summa Theologiae, Part One.↩︎

  7. TODO: split up: Moore (1903), Moore (1925), Moore (1939), and Preston (2005).↩︎

  8. Wittgenstein (1969).↩︎

  9. Korzybski (1933), p. 58.↩︎

  10. Borges (1998), p. 325.↩︎

  11. Schrödinger quoting Schopenhauer in “Mind and Matter.”↩︎

  12. Pritchard (2004).↩︎

  13. Khlentzos (2011).↩︎

  14. Putnam (1981), p. TODO.↩︎

  15. Chalmers (2003).↩︎

  16. Radiohead. (2003). Song: “There There” on the album Hail to the Thief.↩︎

  17. McRobert (2002).↩︎

  18. Swartz (2003).↩︎

  19. Swartz (2009).↩︎

  20. Loewer (2019).↩︎

  21. Lewis (1986), p. ix.↩︎

  22. McTaggart (1908).↩︎

  23. Atherton (1996).↩︎

  24. Torretti (1999), p. 242–243.↩︎

  25. Barrett (2004).↩︎

  26. Redhead (1999), p. 34.↩︎

  27. Chakravartty (2007).↩︎

  28. Chakravartty (2017).↩︎

  29. Psillos (1999).↩︎

  30. Oberdan, T. (2013). Moritz Schlick, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.↩︎

  31. Sankey (2001), p. 37.↩︎

  32. Nola & Sankey (2007), p. 338.↩︎

  33. Khlentzos (2011).↩︎

  34. Wray (2018).↩︎

  35. Poincaré (1913), p. 351.↩︎

  36. Park (2021).↩︎

  37. Coleman (2020).↩︎

  38. Rovelli (2003), p. 5.↩︎

  39. Schumm (2004), p. 144.↩︎

  40. Putnam (1975a), p. 73.↩︎

  41. Popper (2002), p. xvii. Preface to first English edition, 1959.↩︎

  42. Chu & Evans (2021).↩︎

  43. Chakravartty (2017).↩︎

  44. Carnap (1950), p. 1.↩︎

  45. Russell (1945), p. 834.↩︎

  46. Schlick (1948), p. 479.↩︎

  47. Creath (2017).↩︎

  48. Carnap (1937a), p. 51.↩︎

  49. Leitgeb & Carus (2020), Supplement H: Tolerance, Metaphysics, and Meta-Ontology.↩︎

  50. Potochnik (2011).↩︎

  51. Hahn, Neurath, & Carnap (1973), §2.↩︎

  52. Schlick (1936), p. 341.↩︎

  53. Schlick (1948), p. 480.↩︎

  54. Fetzer (2017).↩︎

  55. Mill (1865), part 1.↩︎

  56. Comte (1835), Translation of passage taken from:↩︎

  57. Feigl (1981).↩︎

  58. Popper (1953).↩︎

  59. Reck (2005).↩︎

  60. Wittgenstein (1961).↩︎

  61. Richter (2004).↩︎

  62. Daitz (1953).↩︎

  63. Keyt (1964).↩︎

  64. Gaskin (2009).↩︎

  65. Russell (1919).↩︎

  66. Ogden & Richards (1989).↩︎

  67. Wittgenstein (1929).↩︎

  68. Hahn et al. (1973), §1.2.↩︎

  69. Anscombe (1959), p. 161.↩︎

  70. Gaskin (2009), p. 53.↩︎

  71. Ramsey (1923).↩︎

  72. Ramsey (1925).↩︎

  73. Ramsey (1926).↩︎

  74. Ramsey (1927).↩︎

  75. Lewis (1970).↩︎

  76. Houghton (2011).↩︎

  77. Stadler (2015), p. xx and Edmonds (2020), p. 6.↩︎

  78. Edmonds (2020), p. 90.↩︎

  79. Schlick (1974).↩︎

  80. Carnap (2003).↩︎

  81. Hahn et al. (1973).↩︎

  82. Schlick (1959).↩︎

  83. Carnap (1959).↩︎

  84. Carnap (1987).↩︎

  85. Schlick (1948).↩︎

  86. Blumberg & Feigl (1931).↩︎

  87. Ayer (1936).↩︎

  88. Stadler (1998).↩︎

  89. Murzi (2004).↩︎

  90. Stadler (2015).↩︎

  91. Sigmund (2017).↩︎

  92. Verhaegh (2019).↩︎

  93. Edmonds (2020).↩︎

  94. Reichenbach (1936).↩︎

  95. Rescher (2006).↩︎

  96. Milkov (2013).↩︎

  97. Creath (2017).↩︎


  99. Carnap (1936).↩︎

  100. Murzi (2001).↩︎

  101. Carnap (1937b).↩︎

  102. Neurath, Carnap, & Morris (1955).↩︎

  103. Verhaegh (2020).↩︎

  104. Carnap (1937a).↩︎

  105. Fowler (2010).↩︎

  106. Leitgeb & Carus (2020), Supplement G: Logical Syntax of Language.↩︎

  107. Coffa (1987).↩︎

  108. Carnap (1950).↩︎

  109. Lavers (2004).↩︎

  110. Lavers (2015).↩︎

  111. Nado (2024).↩︎

  112. Carnap (1950), p. 7.↩︎

  113. Carnap (1955b).↩︎

  114. Quine (1960a).↩︎

  115. Carnap & Schilpp (1963).↩︎

  116. Friedman & Creath (2007).↩︎

  117. Steinberger (2016).↩︎

  118. Leitgeb & Carus (2020).↩︎

  119. Neurath (1973), p. 199.↩︎

  120. Neurath (1983), p. 92.↩︎

  121. Quine (1960b), p. 3.↩︎

  122. Creath (2017).↩︎

  123. Creath (2017).↩︎

  124. Reichenbach (1938).↩︎

  125. Reichenbach (1968).↩︎

  126. Creath (2017).↩︎

  127. Psillos (2011).↩︎

  128. Ladyman et al. (2007), p. 303.↩︎

  129. Leitgeb (2023).↩︎

  130. Richardson (2023).↩︎

  131. Ladyman et al. (2007), p. 310.↩︎

  132. Khanna (2018).↩︎

  133. de Swart (2018), p. 351–3.↩︎

  134. Wikipedia: Metaphysics↩︎

  135. Quine (1951).↩︎

  136. Quine (1960a), p. 374.↩︎

  137. Carnap (1955a), p. 46–47, footnote 7.↩︎

  138. Feigl (1956), p. 7–8.↩︎

  139. Grice & Strawson (1956).↩︎

  140. Stalnaker (2003), p. 1–6.↩︎

  141. Quine (1960b).↩︎

  142. Ruja (1961).↩︎

  143. Quine (1963).↩︎

  144. Putnam (1973).↩︎

  145. Putnam (1975b).↩︎

  146. Nietzsche (Notebook 7 [60]. KSA 12.315). See: Guyer & Horstmann (2021).↩︎

  147. Schuldenfrei (1972).↩︎

  148. Quine, Schilpp, & Hahn (1986).↩︎

  149. Quine & Carnap (1990).↩︎

  150. Quine (1991).↩︎

  151. Yablo & Gallois (1998).↩︎

  152. Warren (2016a).↩︎

  153. Warren (2016b).↩︎

  154. Russell (1992), p. 187.↩︎

  155. Sankey (1997).↩︎

  156. Field (1974).↩︎

  157. Wittgenstein (2009).↩︎

  158. Wittgenstein (2009), §201.↩︎

  159. Wittgenstein (1969).↩︎

  160. Strawson (1950).↩︎

  161. Cavell (2015).↩︎

  162. Rorty (1993).↩︎

  163. Rorty (1993), p. 347.↩︎

  164. Borg (2007).↩︎

  165. Wittgenstein (2009), §109.↩︎

  166. Wittgenstein (2009), §114.↩︎

  167. Hempel (1950).↩︎

  168. Passmore (1967) and Creath (2017)↩︎

  169. Suppe (2000).↩︎

  170. Hempel (1974).↩︎

  171. Clarke & Primo (2004).↩︎

  172. Edmonds (2020).↩︎

  173. Clarke & Primo (2004).↩︎

  174. Ayer & Magee (1978).↩︎

  175. Bunge (1996), p. 317.↩︎

  176. O’Neill & Uebel (2004).↩︎

  177. Vrahimis (2020).↩︎

  178. Friedman (1999), p. xii.↩︎

  179. Quine (1970), p. xxii.↩︎

  180. Quine (1970), p. xxiii.↩︎

  181. Awodey & Klein (2004).↩︎

  182. Whetsell & Shields (2013).↩︎

  183. Heilbron (2013), p. 5.↩︎

  184. Feigl (1950).↩︎

  185. Suppe (1974).↩︎

  186. Boyd (1983).↩︎

  187. Sankey (2015).↩︎

  188. Popper (1963), p. TODO.↩︎

  189. Bunge (2012), p. 161.↩︎

  190. Sankey (2008), p. 66.↩︎

  191. Brent (1993).↩︎

  192. Auspitz (1994).↩︎

  193. Quine (1936).↩︎

  194. Sellars (1963).↩︎

  195. Rorty (1967).↩︎

  196. Brandom (2000).↩︎

  197. Brandom (1994).↩︎

  198. Peirce (1923).↩︎

  199. Haack (1996).↩︎

  200. Haack (1997).↩︎

  201. Dennett (2006).↩︎

  202. Hicks (2011).↩︎

  203. Pluckrose (2017).↩︎

  204. Boghossian (2006), p. 109–110.↩︎

  205. van Fraassen (1980).↩︎

  206. van Fraassen (2002).↩︎

  207. Hennig (2010).↩︎

  208. Hennig (2015).↩︎

  209. Healey (2007), p. 114–116.↩︎

  210. Maxwell (1968).↩︎

  211. Russell (1992), p. TODO.↩︎

  212. Nozick (2001).↩︎

  213. Plato, Phaedrus 265d, Cooper & Hutchinson (1997), p. 542.↩︎

  214. Psillos (2001), p. 14, Russell (1992), p. 255, and Frigg & Votsis (2011), p. 235.↩︎

  215. Poincaré (1913), p. 347–8.↩︎

  216. Worrall (1989).↩︎

  217. Dennett (1991).↩︎

  218. Ladyman et al. (2007).↩︎

  219. Frigg & Votsis (2011).↩︎

  220. Redhead (1975).↩︎

  221. Redhead (2001).↩︎

  222. Sider (2011).↩︎

  223. Warren (2016c).↩︎

  224. Ross, Ladyman, & Kincaid (2013).↩︎

  225. Bueno (1999).↩︎

  226. Bueno (2011).↩︎

  227. Harding (1986).↩︎

  228. Neuber (2014).↩︎

  229. Zhang (2023).↩︎