, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 173-191

Theory-dependence, warranted reference, and the epistemic dimensions of realism

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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.

Thanks to audiences at the University of Auckland and the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh for useful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Special thanks to David Braddon-Mitchell, Mitch Green, Robert Nola, and two anonymous referees for this Journal.