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'Coordinative definition' and Reichenbach's semantic framework: A reassessment

Erkenntnis 41 (3):287 - 323 (1994)
Abstract
Reichenbach's Philosophy of Space and Time (1928) avoids most of the logical positivist pitfalls it is generally held to exemplify, notably both conventionalism and verificationism. To see why, we must appreciate that Reichenbach's interest lies in how mathematical structures can be used to describe reality, not in how words like 'distance' acquire meaning. Examination of his proposed "coordinative definition" of congruence shows that Reichenbach advocates a reductionist analysis of the relations figuring in physical geometry (contrary to common readings that attribute to him a holistic conventionalism), while embracing a thoroughly holistic understanding of empirical confirmation (contrary to rival operationalist readings).
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