Quasi-truth in quasi-set theory

Synthese 125 (1-2):33-53 (2000)
Abstract
Throughout the last two decades, Newton da Costa and his collaborators have developed some frameworks to help the interpretation of science. Two of them are particularly noteworthy: partial structures and quasi-truth (that provide a way of accommodating the openness and partiality of scientific activity), and quasi-set theory (that allows one to take seriously the idea, put forward by several physicists, that we can't meaningfully apply the notion of identity to quantum particles). In this paper I explore the interconnection between these two frameworks. After reviewing the extant formulations of quasi-truth and quasi-set theory, I suggest a way of combining them, advancing a formulation of quasi-truth in quasi-set theory. In this way, a good sense can be made of the idea that quantum mechanics, if not true, is at least quasi-true. I then explore an application of this combined framework, arguing that it provides a conceptual setting appropriate to overcome two (philosophical) difficulties in van Fraassen's modal interpretation of quantum mechanics.
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