Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Philosophy of Science

Publication Date

12-1-2011

Volume

78

Issue

5

First Page

1200

Last Page

1211

Abstract

This article develops a new version of instrumentalism, in light of progress in the realism debate in recent decades, and thereby defends the view that instrumentalism remains a viable philosophical position on science. The key idea is that talk of unobservable objects should be taken literally only when those objects are assigned properties (or described in terms of analogies involving things) with which we are experientially (or otherwise) acquainted. This is derivative from the instrumentalist tradition insofar as the distinction between unobservable and observable is taken to have significance with respect to meaning.

DOI

10.1086/662267

Print ISSN

00318248

E-ISSN

1539767X

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2011 by the Philosophy of Science Association

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Pre-print

Recommended Citation

Rowbottom, D. P. (2011). The instrumentalist’s new clothes. Philosophy of Science, 78(5), 1200-1211. doi: 10.1086/662267