Realism and the Progress of Science
This book examines the philosophical
foundations of the realist view of the progress of science as cumulative. It is a view that has recently been faced with a
number of powerful attacks in which successive scientific theories are seen, not as extending their scope and honing their
explanations, but as incommensurable. There is, it is held, in principle no way of establishing that they are about the same
things. From the voluminous literature on the topic, Dr Smith has selected relevantly and incisively and his exposition of
the contending arguments is vigourous and clear, without undue technicality. As an explication and defence of realism it will
interest all those concerned with this basic question in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language.
Introduction; 1. A realist account of scientific progress; 2. The scrutability of reference; 3. A theory of interpretation;
4. Cluster theories of reference; 5. The account in perspective; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
This book examines
the philosophical foundations of the realist view of the progress of science as cumulative.