The sheer multitude of criteria of empirical significance has been taken as evidence that the pre-analytic notion being explicated is too vague to be useful. I show instead that a significant number of these criteria—by Ayer, Popper, Przełęcki, Suppes, and David Lewis, among others—not only form a coherent whole, but also connect directly to the theory of definition, the notion of empirical content as explicated by Ramsey sentences, and the theory of measurement; two criteria by Carnap and Sober are trivial, (...) but can be saved and connected to the other criteria by slight modifications. A corollary is that the ordinary language defense of Lewis, the conceptual arguments by Ayer and Popper, the theoretical considerations by Przełęcki, and the practical considerations by Suppes all apply to the same criterion or closely related criteria. Furthermore, the equivalence of some criteria allows for their individual justifications to be taken cumulatively and, together with the entailment relations between nonequivalent criteria, suggest criteria for general auxiliary assumptions, comparative criteria, and more liberal conceptions of observation. (shrink)
I provide a compact reformulation of Carnap’s conditions of adequacy for the analytic and the synthetic component of a theory and show that, contrary to arguments by Winnie and Demopoulos, Carnap’s conditions of adequacy need not be supplemented by another condition. This has immediate implications for the analytic component of reduction sentences.
I show that a theory may be empirically adequate according to van Fraassen's definition even though it can be observationally determined that the theory is false. I suggest a modification of empirical adequacy that avoids this result.
I show that the central notion of Constructive Empiricism, empirical adequacy, can be expressed syntactically and specifically in the Received View of the logical empiricists. The formalization shows that the Received View is superior to Constructive Empiricism in the treatment of theories involving unobservable objects or functions from observable to unobserv- able objects. It also suggests a formalization of ‘full empirical informative- ness’ in Constructive Empiricism.
Based on a formalization of constructive empiricism’s core concept of empirical adequacy, I show that some previous discussions rest on misunderstandings of empirical adequacy. Using one of the inspirations for constructive empiricism, I generalize the concept of a theory to avoid implausible presumptions about the relations of theoretical concepts and observations, and generalize empirical adequacy to allow for lack of knowledge, approximations, and successive gain of knowledge and precision. As a test case, I provide an application of the concepts to (...) a simple interference phenomenon. (shrink)
The companion piece to this article captures and generalizes empirical adequacy in terms of vagueness sets. In this article, I show that previous attempts to capture and generalize empirical adequacy in terms of partial structures fail. Indeed, the motivations for the partial structures approach are better met by vagueness sets, which can be used to generalize the partial structure approach.
I show how omissions lead to robustness and can justify distortions, and I give inferentially relevant explications of abstraction and idealization. Abstraction is explicated as the omission of all and only those claims that use a specific vocabulary; idealization is explicated as the distortion of only those claims that use a specific vocabulary. With these explications, abstraction can justify idealization. As examples of how abstraction justifies idealization and leads to robustness, I discuss Beauchamp and Childress's four principles of biomedical ethics (...) and the qualitative treatment of the Schrödinger equation. (shrink)
Marian Przełęcki’s semantics for the Received View is a good explication of Carnap’s position on the subject, anticipates many discussions and results from both proponents and opponents of the Received View, and can be the basis for a thriving research program.
I argue that, contrary to common opinion, (i) unintended models do not pose a significant problem for syntactic approaches to scientific theories, (ii) in syntactic approaches, scientific theories can be as well connected to the world as in semantic ones, and (iii) some syntactic approaches are at least as language independent as semantic ones. Based on these results, I argue that syntactic and semantic approaches fare equally well when it comes to (iv) capturing the theory-observation relation, (v) ease of application, (...) and (vi) accommodating the use of models in the sciences. (shrink)
-/- Due to the logical relations between theism and intelligent design (id), there are two challenges to theism that also apply to id. In the falsifiability challenge, it is charged that theism is compatible with every observation statement and thus asserts nothing. I argue that the contentious assumptions of this challenge can be avoided without loss of precision by charging theism (and thus id) directly with the lack of observational assertions. In the translatability challenge, it is charged that theism can (...) be translated into a (non-theistic) set of observation statements without loss of cognitive content. I argue that the contentious assumptions of this challenge are avoided by the related charge that the (non-theistic) evolutionary theory makes all the observational assertions of id, while the converse does not hold. Elliott Sober has argued that id meets the falsifiability challenge, but, since it makes almost no observational assertions, is not testable. I point out two problems with Sober’s argument and show that id is both deductively and probabilistically testable. Sober’s argument, I suggest, inconsistently combines the modified falsifiability challenge with the modified translatability challenge. If his claims about id’s observational assertions are true, however, id succumbs to the modified translatability challenge. (shrink)
-/- If intelligent design (id) is to compete with evolutionary theory (et), it must meet the modified falsifiability challenge, that is, make some deductive or probabilistic observational assertions. It must also meet the modified translatability challenge, which it fails if et makes all the observational assertions of id, while id does not make all the observational assertions of et. I discuss four prominent but diverse formulations of id and show that each either fails one of the two challenges or is (...) analytically false. (shrink)
Abstract Artificial language philosophy (also called ‘ideal language philosophy’) is the position that philosophical problems are best solved or dissolved through a reform of language. Its underlying methodology—the development of languages for specific purposes—leads to a conventionalist view of language in general and of concepts in particular. I argue that many philosophical practices can be reinterpreted as applications of artificial language philosophy. In addition, many factually occurring interrelations between the sciences and philosophy of science are justified and clarified by the (...) assumption of an artificial language methodology. Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0042-6 Authors Sebastian Lutz, Theoretical Philosophy Unit, Utrecht University, Postbus 80126, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912. (shrink)
This dissertation consists of three parts. Part I is a defense of an artificial language methodology in philosophy and a historical and systematic defense of the logical empiricists' application of an artificial language methodology to scientific theories. These defenses provide a justification for the presumptions of a host of criteria of empirical significance, which I analyze, compare, and develop in part II. On the basis of this analysis, in part III I use a variety of criteria to evaluate the scientific (...) status of intelligent design, and further discuss confirmation, reduction, and concept formation. (shrink)
I defend the Received View on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the Received View demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the Received View. Finally, I argue against the claim that the Received View is intended to (...) make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
Laudan’s argument against the possibility of a demarcation criterion for scientiﬁc theories rests on establishing that any criterion must be a necessary and sufﬁcient condition. But Laudan’s argument at most establishes that any criterion must provide a necessary condition and a possibly different sufﬁcient condition. His own claims suggest that such a criterion is possible.
In "A Danger of Definition: Polar Predicates in Metaethics," Mark Alfano (2009) concludes that the response-dependence theory of Prinz and others and the fitting-attitudes theory first articulated by Brentano are false because they imply empirically false statements. He further concludes that these statements cannot be avoided by revising the definitions of the terms 'good' and 'bad' used in the two theories. I strengthen Alfano's first conclusion by arguing that the two theories are false even if they imply empirically true but (...) conceptually contingent statements, and show how, contrary to his second conclusion, the theories can avoid both empirically false and conceptually contingent implications. (shrink)
This review is a critical discussion of three main claims in Debs and Redhead’s thought-provoking book Objectivity, Invariance, and Convention. These claims are: (i) Social acts impinge upon formal aspects of scientific representation; (ii) symmetries introduce the need for conventional choice; (iii) perspectival symmetry is a necessary and sufficient condition for objectivity, while symmetry simpliciter fails to be necessary.
Proponents of linguistic philosophy hold that all non-empirical philosophical problems can be solved by either analyzing ordinary language or developing an ideal one. I review the debates on linguistic philosophy and between ordinary and ideal language philosophy. Using arguments from these debates, I argue that the results of experimental philosophy on intuitions support linguistic philosophy. Within linguistic philosophy, these experimental results support and complement ideal language philosophy. I argue further that some of the critiques of experimental philosophy are in fact (...) defenses of ideal language philosophy. Finally, I show how much of the current debate about experimental philosophy is anticipated in the debates about and within linguistic philosophy. Specifically, arguments by ideal language philosophers support experimental philosophy. (shrink)