Article ID: CBB001211459

Structural Realism versus Standard Scientific Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and Dephlogisticated Air (2011)


Ladyman, James (Author)

Volume: 180, no. 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 87-101

Publication Date: 2011
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “Scientific Realism quo vadis? Theories, Structures, Underdetermination and Reference”
Language: English

The aim of this paper is to revisit the phlogiston theory to see what can be learned from it about the relationship between scientific realism, approximate truth and successful reference. It is argued that phlogiston theory did to some extent correctly describe the causal or nomological structure of the world, and that some of its central terms can be regarded as referring. However, it is concluded that the issue of whether or not theoretical terms successfully refer is not the key to formulating the appropriate form of scientific realism in response to arguments from theory change, and that the case of phlogiston theory is shown to be readily accommodated by ontic structural realism.

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Authors & Contributors
Arabatzis, Theodore
Eli I. Lichtenstein
Allais, Lucy
John A. Stewart
Romero-Maltrana, Diego
Soto, Cristian
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science and Education
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
History of the Human Sciences
Oxford University Press
University of California, Irvine
Sentinel Open Press
Cambridge University Press
University of Oklahoma
Philosophy of science
History of philosophy of science
Development of science; change in science
History of science, as a discipline
Kant, Immanuel
Locke, John
Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
Kuhn, Thomas S.
Reichenbach, Hans
Planck, Max
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
16th century
21st century
20th century
United States
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)

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