Reflections on the revolution at Stanford

Synthese 183 (1):87--114 (2011)
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Abstract

We inquire into the question whether the Aristotelean or classical \emph{ideal} of science has been realised by the Model Revolution, initiated at Stanford University during the 1950ies and spread all around the world of philosophy of science --- \emph{salute} P.\ Suppes. The guiding principle of the Model Revolution is: \emph{a scientific theory is a set of structures in the domain of discourse of axiomatic set-theory}, characterised by a set-theoretical predicate. We expound some critical reflections on the Model Revolution; the conclusions will be that the philosophical problem of what a \emph{scientific theory} is has \emph{not} been solved yet --- \emph{pace} P.\ Suppes. While reflecting critically on the Model Revolution, we also explore a proposal of how to complete the Revolution and briefly address the intertwined subject of \emph{scientific representation}, which has come to occupy center stage in philosophy of science over the past decade.

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F. A. Muller
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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