Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Theories: theories are statement systems for the explanation of observations, e.g. of behavior or physical, chemical or biological processes. When setting up theories, a subject domain, a vocabulary of the terms to be used and admissible methods of observation are defined. In addition to explanations, the goal of the theory formation is the predictability and comparability of observations. See also systems, models, experiments, observation, observation language, theoretical terms, theoretical entities, predictions, analogies, comparisons, evidence, verification, reduction, definitions, definability.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Fraassen I 79
Theory/Acceptance/Explanation/Boyd: Question: should one examine under which circumstances the causal assumptions of a theory could be wrong,...
I 80
...either because others are at work, or because the supposed mechanisms interfere with those who demand the (new) theory in a way that does not anticipate the theory?
Boyd: Thesis: but the only explanation for this principle (P) lies in a realistic understanding of the accompanying theories (accompanying information). (Boyd pro Realism).
Boyd/Fraassen: he, as a realist, must not only explain what happens, but also that competing statements are not suitable. Can he do this? The alternative mechanisms proposed by him are not directly observable.
Empirical adequacy/Fraassen: empirical adequacy requires, for example, that the development of bacterial population can be fitted into one of the models of theory. Some fit into the changed but not the original theory.
Test/Experiment: so there is a test in favor of the old and against the new theory. But then it is easy to foresee that this test speaks for (or against) the empirical adequacy of the original theory L in terms of how it differs from the alternative.
Causal mechanisms/causal mechanism/Fraassen: the speech of it can be understood as a speech about the internal structure of the models.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Boyd I
Richard Boyd
The Philosophy of Science Cambridge 1991

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-04-09
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