Scientific Languages, Ontology, and Truth

Jody Azzouni

in Talking About Nothing

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738946
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866175 | DOI:
Scientific Languages, Ontology, and Truth

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This chapter first describes older approaches to the unity of science: strong reductionism and supervenience, and relates their drawbacks to the widespread practice—in the sciences—of referring to entities that don’t exist. Then it is shown how actual confirmation and deduction relations are established between discourses containing very different kinds of vocabulary by the use of gross correlational regularities, and it is shown how this is compatible with a minimal form of physicalism. Two extended illustrations, one from biology and the other from neurophysiology, are characterized. The chapter then turns to explaining how the forgoing analysis bears negatively on two forms of pluralism: logical pluralism and truth pluralism. The latter is undercut both in a form that takes our various discourses to have different truth predicates, and in the more innocuous form of taking there to be various truth-properties that different statements have.

Keywords: strong reductionism; supervenience; logical pluralism; truth pluralism; gross correlational regularities; minimal physicalism; blind truth-ascription

Chapter.  30484 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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