Understanding scientific theories: An assessment of developments, 1969-1998

Philosophy of Science 67 (3):115 (2000)
The positivistic Received View construed scientific theories syntactically as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms were given a partial semantic interpretation via correspondence rules connecting them to observation statements. This paper assesses what, with hindsight, seem the most important defects in the Received View; surveys the main proposed successor analyses to the Received View--various Semantic Conception versions and the Structuralist Analysis; evaluates how well they avoid those defects; examines what new problems they face and where the most promising require further development or leave unanswered questions; explores implications of recent work on models for understanding theories; and rebuts the few criticisms of the Semantic Conception that have surfaced
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DOI 10.1086/392812
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