The debate over scientific or critical realism is characterized by confusion, which I claim is a result of approaching the issue from both modern and ‘postmodern’ perspectives. Modern thought is characterized by foundationalism in epistemology and representationalism in philosophy of language, while holism in epistemology and the theory of meaning as use in philosophy of language are postmodern.

Typical forms of scientific realism (which seek referents for theoretical terms or correspondence accounts of the truth of scientific theories) are positions at home only in a modern framework. Postmodern presuppositions of other participants in the debate account for the ability of opponents to talk past one another.

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