Single Idea 6778

[catalogued under 14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism]

Full Idea

Instrumentalism is so called because it regards theories not as attempts to describe or explain the world, but as instruments for making predictions; for the instrumentalist, asking about the truth of a theory is a conceptual mistake.

Gist of Idea

Instrumentalists regard theories as tools for prediction, with truth being irrelevant


Alexander Bird (Philosophy of Science [1998], Ch.4)

Book Reference

Bird,Alexander: 'Philosophy of Science' [UCL Press 2000], p.125

A Reaction

It cannot be denied that theories are used to make predictions, and there is nothing wrong with being solely interested in predictions. I cannot make head or tail of the idea that truth is irrelevant. Why is a given theory so successful?