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Carnap, the Ramsey-Sentence and Realistic Empiricism

Stathis Psillos
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 52, No. 2 (2000), pp. 253-279
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012986
Page Count: 27
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Carnap, the Ramsey-Sentence and Realistic Empiricism
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Abstract

Based on archival material from the Carnap and Feigl Archives, this paper re-examines Carnap's approach to the issue of scientific realism in the 1950s and the early 1960s. It focuses on Carnap's re-invention of the Ramsey-sentence approach to scientific theories and argues that Carnap wanted to entertain a genuine neutral stance in the realism-instrumentalism debate. Following Grover Maxwell, it claims that Carnap's position may be best understood as a version of 'structural realism'. However, thus understood, Carnap's position faces the challenge that Newman raised against Russell's structuralism: the claim that the knowledge of the unobservable is limited to its purely structural characteristics is either uninformative or unsustainable.

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