Previous Chapter Chapter 7: Realism and Instrumentalism

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Realism and Instrumentalism
Realism and instrumentalism

Scientists seem to be enormously successful in using theories about unobservables to make the world predictable and to allow us to formulate strategies for interacting with it. Their theories about entities such as bacteria, neutrons, and curved space are used to explain the behaviour of observable phenomena and to enable us to interact with them in a systematic way For example, scientists explain a child's sore throat and high temperature by a theory about the action of particular bacteria. Their theories about the nature of these bacteria allow them to design an antibiotic which will eliminate the sore throat and high temperature.

In addition to making the world predictable and facilitating our interaction with it, scientific theories seem to tell us ...

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