Authors
Neil Dewar
Cambridge University
Abstract
Philosophers of science spend a lot of time “interpreting” scientific theories. In this paper, I try to get a handle on what it is they might be up to. My main contention is that a certain picture of interpretation is widespread in contemporary philosophy of science: a picture according to which interpretation of theories is relevantly analogous to the interpretation of foreign literature. On this picture, which we might call the external account of theory-interpretation, meaning is to be imported into the equations by putting them in correspondence with some discourse whose signs and symbols are already endowed with significance. However, there is an alternative way of thinking about interpretation—what we can call the “internal” account of interpretation—which instead takes interpretation to be a matter of delineating a theory’s internal semantic architecture.
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Word and Object.Willard van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

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Theoretical Equivalence and Duality.Sebastian De Haro - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5139-5177.
Symmetry fundamentalism in quantum mechanics.David Schroeren - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3995-4024.
The Physics and Metaphysics of Tychistic Bohmian Mechanics.Patrick M. Duerr & Alexander Ehmann - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90:168-183.

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