Theory Eliminativism as a Methodological Tool

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Vickers, Peter
preprint description
Disagreements about the definition, nature, structure, ontology, and content of scientific theories are at least partly responsible for disagreements in other debates in the philosophy of science. I argue that available theories of theories and conceptual analyses of *theory* are ineffectual options for overcoming this difficulty. Directing my attention to debates about the properties of particular, named theories, I introduce ‘theory eliminativism’ as a certain type of debate-reformulation. As a methodological tool it has the potential to be a highly effective way to make real progress in the face of the noted problem. After the recommended reformulation questions of genuine importance to philosophy of science can still be asked and answered, but now without any possibility of disagreements about ‘theories’ compromising the debate.