Authors
Peter Vickers
Durham University
Abstract
The semantic approach to scientific representation is now long established as a favourite amongst philosophers of science. One of the foremost strains of this approach—the model-theoretic approach —is to represent scientific theories as families of models, all of which satisfy or ‘make true’ a given set of constraints. However some authors have criticised the approach on the grounds that certain scientific theories are logically inconsistent, and there can be no models of an inconsistent set of constraints. Thus it would seem that the MTA fails to represent inconsistent scientific theories at all, and this raises concerns about the way it represents in general. In a series of papers and a recent book da Costa and French have developed a variant of the MTA approach which they call ‘partial structures’, and which they claim can accommodate inconsistent theories. I assess this claim, looking to two theories which have been called ‘inconsistent’: Bohr’s theory of the atom and classical electrodynamics.
Keywords Representation  Bohr  Theories  Inconsistency  Classical electrodynamics  Partial structures
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DOI 10.5007/1808-1711.2009v13n2p233
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References found in this work BETA

Introduction to Logic.PATRICK SUPPES - 1957 - Dover Publications.
A Model‐Theoretic Account of Representation.Steven French - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1472-1483.

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Citations of this work BETA

How Theories Represent.Otavio Bueno & Steven French - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):857-894.
The Structure of Scientific Theories.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Representing the World with Inconsistent Mathematics.Colin McCullough-Benner - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1331-1358.

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