Erkenntnis 79 (S4):1-14 (2014)

Jeffrey Barrett
University of California, Irvine
Insofar as empirical inquiry involves the coevolution of descriptive language and theoretical commitments, a satisfactory model of empirical knowledge should describe the coordinated evolution of both language and theory. But since we do not know what conceptual resources we might need to express our future theories or to provide our best future faithful descriptions of the world, we do not now know even what the space of future descriptive options might be. One strategy for addressing this shifting-resource problem is to track the predictive and linguistic dispositions of inquirers rather than to track their theories and conceptual resources directly. Sender-predictor games, a variant of Skyrms–Lewis sender-receiver games, provide very simple models for the coordinated coevolution of predictive and linguistic dispositions. Such models explain how it is possible for (1) predictive and descriptive dispositions of inquirers to coevolve, (2) term-wise incommensurable, but nevertheless descriptively faithful languages, to sequentially evolve, and (3) a sort of underdetermination to occur where inquirers might satisfy their descriptive and predictive aims by revising their linguistic dispositions, their theoretical dispositions, or both. Such models also provide an elementary characterization of what it might mean for descriptions of the world to be faithful and hence for empirical inquiry to be successful. In doing so they provide a relatively weak, but perfectly clear, endogenous account of epistemic norms
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2014
DOI 10.1007/s10670-013-9466-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Signals.Brian Skyrms - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):489-500.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Rule-Following and the Evolution of Basic Concepts.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):829-839.
On the Evolution of Truth.Jeffrey Barrett - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1323-1332.
The Evolution of Simple Rule-Following.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (2):142-150.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Multi‐Track Dispositions.Barbara Vetter - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251):330-352.
The Evolution of Coding in Signaling Games.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2009 - Theory and Decision 67 (2):223-237.
Semantics, Moral.Mark Schroeder - forthcoming - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
Overdetermination of Theories by Empirical Models: A Realist Interpretation of Empirical Choices.Emma Ruttkamp - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):409-436.
Vindication of the Humpty Dumpty Attitude Towards Language.Herman Tennesen - 1960 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 3 (1-4):185 – 198.


Added to PP index

Total views
41 ( #278,617 of 2,519,499 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #271,332 of 2,519,499 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes