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Hypothetical Entities and Realistic Interpretation: The Case of the Muriatic Radical

Hricko, Jonathon (2013) Hypothetical Entities and Realistic Interpretation: The Case of the Muriatic Radical. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Scientific realists are committed to the claim that scientific discourse should be interpreted realistically, so that theoretical terms are understood as putatively referring expressions that have putative reference to empirical entities. In order to argue against realistic interpretation, I draw on an episode from the history of chemistry. One of the hypothetical entities of late 18th century chemistry was the muriatic radical, a hitherto unknown element that was thought to be a constituent of muriatic acid. I argue that the term 'muriatic radical' resists realistic interpretation, and that we should therefore refrain from interpreting discourse concerning hypothetical entities realistically.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Hricko, Jonathonjonathon.hricko@gmail.com
Keywords: Scientific Realism, Reference, Theoretical Terms, History of Chemistry, Philosophy of Chemistry, Hypothetical Entities
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Jonathon Hricko
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2013 13:03
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2013 13:03
Item ID: 9626
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 13 March 2013
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9626

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