Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Field, Hartry
Books on Amazon
Theoretical Entities I 16
Theoretical Entities/Unobservable/Mathematics/Physics/Field: are theoretical entities like electrons justified by the same methodology as mathematical entities (numbers, etc.)? - Quine-Putnam argument: many physical theories require fixation on numbers, but functions, etc. not on electrons. - Stronger: Electrons cannot be accepted without mathematics - N.B.: one could not say that the best explanations involving mathematical entities are weaker than those involving electrons, because the explanations would be the same.
I 261
Theoretical terms/TT/Observation/Observation rates/Ontology/Physics/Field: a theory which is assuming e.g. subatomic particles can be observing-wise equivalent to one which does not assume it. - That is, the theoretical entities can be eliminated for observation sets. Then the theory has less explanatory power. - Mathematical entities: are not so easy to eliminate.
Theoretical Entities/Physics/Unobservable/TT/Utility/Field: play a role in strong theories from which we can derive a large number of phenomena. - ((s) Phenomena, predictions, observations: are derivable from physical entities, not from mathematical entities).
A theory without e.g. subatomic particles: would not have simple principles. If a theory without theoretical entities produced the same consequences as one with theoretical entities, this theory could never be tested.
III 14
Theoretical Entities/Field: Theories about nobservable things are certainly not conservative. They lead to real new conclusions about observable things. - Unlike theories with mathematical entities. - Mathematical entities are true-maintaining within nominalistic inferences.

Fie I
H. Field
Realism, Mathematics and Modality Oxford New York 1989

Fie II
H. Field
Truth and the Absence of Fact Oxford New York 2001

H. Field
Science without numbers Princeton New Jersey 1980

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-24