On Dispensability and Indispensability

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Submission Summary
Many philosophers present dispensability or indispensability arguments that presuppose a specific conception of dispensability. The present paper explores and critiques the reigning conception of dispensability. In particular, I argue that it entails that too many things are dispensable to our best scientific theories. This entailment is at odds with the purpose for which we seek a conception of dispensability. In light of my arguments, I present a positive proposal that radically shifts our understanding of how dispensability and indispensability arguments work. This new proposal demands a metaphysics of science that splits the difference between pure empiricism and pure rationalism.
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University of California, Santa Barbara

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