Can Partial Structures Accommodate Inconsistent Science?

Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 13 (2):133-250 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

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.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Quasi-Truth, Supervaluations and Free Logic.Newton C. A. Da Costa & Otavio Bueno - 1999 - History and Philosophy of Logic 20 (3-4):215-226.
Typability in Partial Applicative Structures.Inge Bethke & Piet Rodenburg - 2011 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (2):161-168.
Partial Model Theory as Model Theory.Sebastian Lutz - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
Belief Systems and Partial Spaces.Otávio Bueno - 2016 - Foundations of Science 21 (1):225-236.
Understanding Inconsistent Science.Peter Vickers - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
How Theories Represent.Otávio Bueno & Steven French - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):857-894.
Ranked partial structures.Timothy J. Carlson - 2003 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 68 (4):1109-1144.
Partial Combinatory Algebras of Functions.Jaap van Oosten - 2011 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 52 (4):431-448.
Inconsistency and scientific reasoning.Joel M. Smith - 1988 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 19 (4):429-445.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-06-21

Downloads
116 (#109,012)

6 months
1 (#448,551)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peter Vickers
Durham University

Citations of this work

The Structure of Scientific Theories.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
How Theories Represent.Otávio Bueno & Steven French - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):857-894.
Representing the World with Inconsistent Mathematics.Colin McCullough-Benner - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1331-1358.

Add more citations