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This chapter does three main things. First, it provides a characterisation of instrumentalism with reference to nineteenth-century thinkers involved in its genesis. Second, it identifies and addresses several common misconceptions concerning instrumentalism. Third, it covers several key objections to instrumentalism, which hinge on the significance of observability. Overall, the chapter argues that instrumentalism is a live position when it is properly construed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351362917
ISBN (Print)9781138888852
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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  • Research Output

    • 1 Book (Author)

    The instrument of science : scientific anti-realism revitalised

    ROWBOTTOM, D. P., 18 Mar 2019, Taylor and Francis. 215 p. (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science)

    Research output: Scholarly Books | Reports | Literary WorksBook (Author)

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)

    Cite this

    ROWBOTTOM, D. P. (2017). Instrumentalism. In The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism (pp. 84-95). Taylor and Francis Ltd..