Diagrams as Part of Physical Theories: A Representational Conception

In 12th International Conference, Diagrams 2021, Virtual, September 28–30, 2021, Proceedings. pp. 52-59 (2021)
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Throughout the history of the philosophy of science, theories have been linked to formulas as a privileged representational format. In this paper, following, I defend a semantic-representational conception of theories, where theories are identified with sets of scientific re-presentations by virtue of their epistemic potential and independently of their format. To show the potential of this proposal, I analyze as a case study the use of phase diagrams in statistical mechanics to convey in a semantically consistent and syntactically correct way theoretical principles such as Liouville’s theorem. I conclude by defending this philosophical position as a tool to show the enormous representational richness underlying scientific practices.



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Javier Anta
Universidad de Sevilla

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Models and representation.Richard Hughes - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):336.
The Representational Semantic Conception.Mauricio Suárez & Francesca Pero - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):344-365.

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