Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Instrumentalism, science theory: the assumption that theories are useful tools for achieving goals. It is therefore secondary whether these theories are true. When comparing theories, truth ultimately plays the decisive role.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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Arm III 108
Definition instrumentalism/van Fraassen/Armstrong (van Fraassen, 1980, p.36): instrumentalism is similar to atheism: it is still speculative about the realm beyond the observable. It denies real unobserved entities. - Definition Realism/Fraassen: realism is like theism: it accepts real unobserved entities. - Fraassen: pro agnosticism: agnosticism has a neutral attitude towards the ontological status of unobserved entities. (agnostic)
Fra I 23
Instrumentalism: Thesis: theories are merely useful. The I. does not require any truth, only empirical adequacy. - E.g. the assumption of the realistic truth of Copernican theory, for example, explains the instrumentalist utility of the Ptolemaean. - N.B.: such an explanation would be impossible if all theories were regarded as instrumental.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980

AR II = Disp
D. M. Armstrong

Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

D. Armstrong
What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge 1983

Fra I
M. Frank (Hrsg.)
Analytische Theorien des Selbstbewusstseins Frankfurt 1994

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-20