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Revista de humanidades de Valparaíso

Print version ISSN 0719-4234On-line version ISSN 0719-4242


SEREBRINSKY*, Dalila  and  BORGE**, Bruno. Theoretical Terms and Hybrid Theories of Reference. Rev. humanid. Valpso. [online]. 2021, n.17, pp.169-191.  Epub Aug 01, 2021. ISSN 0719-4234.

Both descriptivism and the causal theory of reference fail to account for the meaning of theoretical terms in a way consistent with scientific realism. Faced with this problem, hybrid theories of reference have been developed. They combine features of both descriptivism and the causal theory and seek to capture the advantages of each. In this work, we critically analyze two strategies to articulate hybrid theories of reference in the face of the problem of the meaning of theoretical terms. They are exemplified by the proposals of Psillos and Kitcher. We argue that neither of these strategies is successful in articulating the descriptive and causal elements in a genuine hybrid theory of reference that satisfies the standards of scientific realism.

Keywords : causal descriptivism; direct reference; causal theory of reference; scientific realism; scientific change.

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