On empirical interpretation

Erkenntnis 33 (3):345 - 369 (1990)
Abstract
The view that scientific theories are partially interpreted deductive systems (theoretical deductivism) is defended against recent criticisms by Hempel. Hempel argues that the reliance of theoretical inferences (both from observation to theory and also from theory to theory) uponceteris paribus conditions orprovisos must prevent theories from establishing deductive connections among observations. In reply I argue, first, that theoretical deductivism does not in fact require the establishing of such deductive connections: I offer alternative H-D analyses of these inferences. Second, I argue that when the refined character of scientific observation is taken into account, we find that a theorymay after all establish such deductive connections among scientific observations, without reliance on provisos.These conclusions are based on the multi-level Popperian contextualist account of empirical interpretation sketched in a previous paper. As before, I claim that the supposed objections to theoretical deductivism depend upon questionable empiricist theses unnecessarily conjoined with theoretical deductivism by the Logical Positivists. Theoretical deductivism itself is unaffected by these arguments, and remains (when empirical interpretation is properly analyzed) the best account of scientific theories.
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    References found in this work BETA
    Wesley C. Salmon (1967). The Foundations of Scientific Inference. [Pittsburgh]University of Pittsburgh Press.
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