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Theoretical terms and the Principle of the Benefit of Doubt

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Abstract:

The Principle of the Benefit of Doubt dictates that, whenever reasonably possible, we interpret earlier-day scientists as referring to entities posited by current science. Putnam has presented the principle as supplementary to his Causal Theory of Reference in order to make this theory generally applicable to theoretical terms. The present paper argues that the principle is of doubtful standing. In particular, it will be argued that the principle lacks a justification and, indeed, is unjustifiable as it stands.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02698590050045728

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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