What’s Wrong with the Received View on the Structure of Scientific Theories?

Philosophy of Science 39 (1):1-19 (1972)
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Achinstein, Putnam, and others have urged the rejection of the received view on theories (which construes theories as axiomatic calculi where theoretical terms are given partial observational interpretations by correspondence rules) because (i) the notion of partial interpretation cannot be given precise formulation, and (ii) the observational-theoretical distinction cannot be drawn satisfactorily. I try to show that these are the wrong reasons for rejecting the received view since (i) is false and it is virtually impossible to demonstrate the truth of (ii). Nonetheless, the received view should be rejected because it obscures a number of epistemologically important features of scientific theorizing. I show this by sketching an alternative analysis which reveals some of these features and gives a more faithful picture of scientific theorizing



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Citations of this work

What Was the Syntax‐Semantics Debate in the Philosophy of Science About?Sebastian Lutz - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):319-352.
Scientific Theories.Hans Halvorson - 2016 - In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 585-608.
The cognitive structure of scientific theories.Ronald N. Giere - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (2):276-296.

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Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1966 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (3):190-191.
The methodological character of theoretical concepts.R. Carnap - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1 (1):38--76.
Methods of Logic.P. L. Heath & Willard Van Orman Quine - 1955 - Philosophical Quarterly 5 (21):376.

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