South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):100-148 (1999)

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem
University of Pretoria
In this article I give an overview of some recent work in philosophy of science dedicated to analysing the scientific process in terms of (conceptual) mathematical models of theories and the various semantic relations between such models, scientific theories, and aspects of reality. In current philosophy of science, the most interesting questions centre around the ways in which writers distinguish between theories and the mathematical structures that interpret them and in which they are true, i.e. between scientific theories as linguistic systems and their non-linguistic models. In philosophy of science literature there are two main approaches to the structure of scientific theories, the statement or syntactic approach -- advocated by Carnap, Hempel and Nagel -- and the non- statement or semantic approach --advocated, among others, by Suppes, the structuralists, Beth, Van Fraassen, Giere, Wojcicki. In conclusion, I briefly review some of the usual realist inspired questions about the possibility and character of relations between scientific theories and reality as implied by the various approaches I discuss in the course of the article. The models of a scientific theory should indeed be adequate to the phenomena, but if the theory is 'adequate' to (true in) its conceptual (mathematical) models as well, we have a model-theoretic realism that addresses the possible meaning and reference of 'theoretical entities' without relapsing into the metaphysics typical of the usual scientific realist approaches
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DOI 10.1080/02580136.1999.10878181
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References found in this work BETA

Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary Hesse - 1965 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 16 (62):161-163.
Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Duhem & Philip P. Wiener - 1955 - Science and Society 19 (1):85-87.

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Citations of this work BETA

Reality in Science.Emma Ruttkamp - 1999 - South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):149-191.
Folk Theories, Models and Economic Reality: A Reply to Williams.D. Ross - 1999 - South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):247-257.

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