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SR1 is so weak that it verges on instrumentalism, which is the view that theories are instruments that we use for our purposes: a theory is useful, or not, to the degree that it is fit for its purpose, but we can’t say whether it is true or false.
To see whether you are comfortable with instrumentalism, Allen Downey made up the following test. Read the following statements and give yourself a point for each one you agree with. If you score 4 or more, you might be an instrumentalist!
Downey’s Instrumentalism Test
“Entities in the Game of Life aren’t real; they are just patterns of cells that people have given cute names.”
“A hurricane is just a pattern of air flow, but it is a useful description because it allows us to make predictions and communicate about the weather.”
“Freudian entities like the Id and the Superego aren’t real, but they are useful tools for thinking and communicating about psychology (or at least some people think so).”
“Electric and magnetic fields are postulated entities in our best theory of electromagnetism, but they aren’t real. We could construct other theories, without postulating fields, that would be just as useful.”
“Many of the things in the world that we identify as objects are arbitrary collections like constellations. For example, a mushroom is just the fruiting body of a fungus, most of which grows underground as a barely-contiguous network of cells. We focus on mushrooms for practical reasons like visibility and edibility.”
“Some objects have sharp boundaries, but many are fuzzy. For example, which molecules are part of your body: Air in your lungs? Food in your stomach? Nutrients in your blood? Nutrients in a cell? Water in a cell? Structural parts of a cell? Hair? Dead skin? Dirt? Bacteria on your skin? Bacteria in your gut? Mitochondria? How many of those molecules do you include when you weigh yourself? Conceiving the world in terms of discrete objects is useful, but the entities we identify are not real.”
If you are more comfortable with some of these statements than others, ask yourself why. What are the differences in these scenarios that influence your reaction? Can you make a principled distinction between them?