structure for 'Science'    |     alphabetical list of themes    |     expand these ideas

14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism

[scientific truth is just what works in our theories]

12 ideas
Pragmatism says all theories are instrumental - that is, mental modes of adaptation to reality [James]
True thoughts are just valuable instruments of action [James]
Special relativity, unlike general relativity, was operationalist in spirit [Putnam on Einstein]
All linguistic forms in science are merely judged by their efficiency as instruments [Carnap]
The 'Tractatus' is instrumentalist about laws of nature [Wittgenstein ,by Armstrong]
Users of digital thermometers recognise no temperatures in the gaps [Goodman]
For Quine, theories are instruments used to make predictions about observations [Quine ,by O'Grady]
For the instrumentalists there are no scientific explanations [Salmon]
Na´ve operationalism would have meanings change every time the tests change [Putnam]
Instrumentalism normally says some discourse is useful, but not genuinely true [Horgan,T]
Operationalism defines concepts by our ways of measuring them [Mares]
Instrumentalists regard theories as tools for prediction, with truth being irrelevant [Bird]