The modular structure of physical theories

Synthese 162 (2):195 - 223 (2008)
Any advanced theory of physics contains modules defined as essential components that are themselves theories with different domains of application. Different kinds of modules can be distinguished according to the way in which they fit in the symbolic and interpretive apparatus of a theory. The number and kind of the modules of a given theory vary as the theory evolves in time. The relative stability of modules and the variability of their insertion in other theories play a vital role in the application, comparison, construction, and communication of theories. Modularity conveys some global unity to physics through the sharing of modules by diverse theories. This alternative to rigid hierarchies and holistic totalities permits a dynamical, plastic, and symbiotic approach to physical theory.
Keywords Structure of physical theories  Modules  Unity/disunity
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 21,476
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Alexander S. Blum & Christian Joas (2016). From Dressed Electrons to Quasiparticles: The Emergence of Emergent Entities in Quantum Field Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 53:1-8.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

43 ( #100,234 of 1,911,771 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #323,440 of 1,911,771 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.