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I assume your question is about scientific realism. The debate can be framed as a question concerning what science aims to achieve, and what it's successful at: is it at discovering the fundamental nature of reality, or merely building efficient theories to make predictions and develop technologies? Or something in between? This matters for understanding ...


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Instrumentalism is a pragmatic school of thought which asserts what is real (ontology) and what is true (epistemology) are ideas that aren't answerable and thus is an antirealist position. This is contradistinction to scientific realism. From WP's entry on instrumentalism: According to instrumentalists, a successful scientific theory reveals nothing ...


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There's a good case for morality as emerging from storytelling. Having a shared set of well-known stories, like the old testament, or the vedas, gives a shared context of reference. Your picture of authorial authority isn't right. For instance, how can it deal with Tolkein contradicting himself, or changing his mind? His authority is from the coherence and ...


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There are different versions of instrumentalism, but a typical version states that the only factual content that scientific theories have is observational (or empirical). In other words, all the non-observational statements entailed by a theory are to be understood non-literally; for instance, all non-observational statements have to be translated into the ...


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The posted answers will work, and are appreciated (and given my vote), but, I'll go with Hillary Putnam, who long ago said (somewhat in the context of the other answers here), "There is no fact of the matter as to what any of our terms refer to." (Words and Life, 1994, p. 279). Alternatively, one might trivially say, with William James, that our words, if "...


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According to Wittgenstein, well a formed sentence expresses a proposition. A proposition is an abstract construction in logical space and shares what he calls a 'form' with sets of entities. A state of affairs is an arrangement of entities in space, time, etc. The form of a set of entities is all of the arrangements, i.e., states of affairs that set can ...


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Your formulation "this is the fact of the matter" is similar to Wittgenstein's formulation in the Tractatus of the most general form of a proposition: "This is how things stand" (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 4.5) - However, your formulation seems to include a statement of the appended proposition's truth, and this is the way we often speak, in propositions ...


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Looking at your profile before answering, this is a very tough question. The perennial realism/anti-realism debate essentially boils down to whether and how language (formerly -- pre 20th Century -- thoughts/experience) hook up to things/objects -- whether they be chairs, numbers or theorems. Given your level of logical, but not philosophical (ontology v. ...


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