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Truthlikeness, Translation, and Approximate Causal Explanation

Eric Barnes
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 215-226
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188431
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Truthlikeness, Translation, and Approximate Causal Explanation
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Abstract

D. Miller's demonstrations of the language dependence of truthlikeness raise a profound problem for the claim that scientific progress is objective. In two recent papers (Barnes 1990, 1991) I argue that the objectivity of progress may be grounded on the claim that the aim of science is not merely truth but knowledge; progress thus construed is objective in an epistemic sense. In this paper I construct a new solution to Miller's problem grounded on the notion of "approximate causal explanation" which allows for linguistically invariant progress outside an epistemic context. I suggest that the notion of "approximate causal explanation" provides the resources for a more robust theory of progress than that provided by the notion of "approximate truth."

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