Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-8lphq Total loading time: 0.281 Render date: 2022-07-06T01:40:50.487Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

The Representational Semantic Conception

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

This article argues for a representational semantic conception (RSC) of scientific theories, which respects the bare claim of any semantic view, namely, that theories can be characterized as sets of models. RSC must be sharply distinguished from structural versions that assume a further identity of ‘models’ and ‘structures’, which we reject. The practice turn in the recent philosophical literature suggests instead that modeling must be understood in a deflationary spirit, in terms of the diverse representational practices in the sciences. These insights are applied to some mathematical models, thus showing that the mathematical sciences are not in principle counterexamples to RSC.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

Mauricio Suárez would like to acknowledge support from the Spanish government (DGCyT research project FFI2014-57064-P). Francesca Pero acknowledges support from the Department of Philosophy, University of Florence.

References

Boesch, Brandon. 2017. “There Is a Special Problem of Scientific Representation.” Philosophy of Science 84 (5): 970–81..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno, Otávio, and Colyvan, Mark. 2011. “An Inferential Conception of the Application of Mathematics.” Nous 45 (2): 345–74..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chakravartty, Anjan. 2001. “The Semantic or Model-Theoretic View of Theories and Scientific Realism.” Synthese 127:325–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chakravartty, Anjan. 2010. “Informational and Functional Theories of Scientific Representation.” Synthese 172:197213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chang, Chen Chung, and Keisler, Howard Jerome. 1973. Model Theory. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
De Donato-Rodríguez, Xavier, and Zamora-Bonilla, Jesús. 2009. “Credibility, Idealisation, and Model-Building: An Inferential Approach.” Erkenntnis 70 (1): 101–18..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frigg, Roman. 2006. “Scientific Representation and the Semantic Conception of Scientific Theories.” Theoria 21 (1): 4965..Google Scholar
Giere, Ronald. 1988. Explaining Science. Chicago: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giere, Ronald. 1999. “Using Models to Represent Reality.” In Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery, ed. Magnani, Lorenzo, Nersessian, Nancy J., and Thagard, Paul, 4157. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giere, Ronald. 2004. “How Models Are Used to Represent Reality.” Philosophy of Science 71:742–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Godfrey-Smith, Peter. 2006. “The Strategy of Model-Based Science.” Biology and Philosophy 21:725–40.Google Scholar
Goodman, Nelson. 1968. Languages of Art. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
Grimmett, Geoffrey, and Stirzaker, David. 1982/2001. Probability and Random Processes. Repr. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Halvorson, Hans. 2012. “What Scientific Theories Could Not Be.” Philosophy of Science 79 (2): 183206..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halvorson, Hans. 2013. “The Semantic View, If Plausible, Is Syntactic.” Philosophy of Science 80 (3): 475–78..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hughes, Robin I. G. 1992. The Structure and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Hughes, Robin I. G.. 1997. “Models and Representation.” Philosophy of Science 64:325–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Knuuttila, Tarja, and Loettgers, Andrea. 2017. “Modelling as Indirect Representation? The Lotka-Volterra Model Revisited.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68:1007–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuorikoski, Jaakko, and Ylikoski, Petri. 2015. “External Representations and Scientific Understanding.” Synthese 192 (12): 3817–37..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Landry, Elaine. 2007. “Shared Structure Need Not Be Shared Set-Structure.” Synthese 158:117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Le Bihan, Soazig. 2012. “Defending the Semantic View: What It Takes.” European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3): 249–74..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moulines, Carlos Ulises. 1996. “Structuralism: The Basic Ideas.” In Structural Theories of Science: Focal Issues, New Results, ed. Balzer, Wolfang and Moulines, Carlos Ulises, 143. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Nguyen, James, and Frigg, Roman. 2017. “Mathematics Is Not the Only Language of Nature.” Synthese.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Percival, Ian. 1998. Quantum State Diffusion Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Pero, Francesca. 2015. “Whither Structuralism for Scientific Representation?” PhD diss., University of Florence.Google Scholar
Pero, Francesca, and Suárez, Mauricio. 2016. “Varieties of Misrepresentation and Homomorphism.” European Journal of Philosophy of Science 6 (1): 7190..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pincock, Christopher. 2012. Mathematics and Scientific Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sneed, Joseph D. 1994. “Structural Explanation.” In Patrick Suppes: Scientific Philosopher, Vol. 2, Philosophy of Physics, Theory Structure and Measurement Theory, ed. Humphreys, Paul, 195216. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio. 1999. “Theories, Models and Representation.” In Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery, ed. Magnani, Lorenzo, Nersessian, Nancy J., and Thagard, Paul, 7583. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio. 2004. “An Inferential Conception of Scientific Representation.” Philosophy of Science 71:767–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio. 2005. “The Semantic View, Empirical Adequacy, and Application.” Critica 37:2963.Google Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio, and Cartwright, Nancy. 2008. “Theories: Tools versus Models.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (1): 6281..CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suppe, Frederick, ed. 1977. The Structure of Scientific Theories. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
Suppe, Frederick. 1989. The Semantic Conception of Theories and Scientific Realism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 1961. “A Comparison of the Meaning and Use of Models in Mathematics and the Empirical Sciences.” In The Concept and Role of The Model in Mathematics and the Natural and Social Sciences, ed. Freudenthal, Hans, 163–77. Reider: Dordrecht.Google Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 1962. “Models of Data.” In Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science: Proceedings of the 1960 International Congress, ed. Nagel, Ernest, Suppes, Patrick, and Tarski, Alfred, 252–61. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 1968. “The Desirability of Formalization in Science.” Journal of Philosophy 65:651–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 1972. Axiomatic Set-Theory. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 2002. Representation and Invariance of Scientific Structure. Stanford, CA: CSLI.Google Scholar
Swoyer, Chris. 1991. “Structural Representation and Surrogative Reasoning.” Synthese 87:449508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas. 1980. The Scientific Image. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas. 1987. Laws and Symmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas. 2008. Scientific Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas. 2014. “The Semantic Approach to Science, after 50 Years.” Rotman Institute of Philosophy Lecture, April 4. http://www.rotman.uwo.ca/event/bas-van-fraassen-semantic-approach-science-50-years.Google Scholar
Weisberg, Michael. 2007. “Who Is a Modeler?British Journal for the Philosophy Science 58:207–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Winther, Rasmus Gr⊘nfeldt. 2016. “The Structure of Scientific Theories.” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Zalta, Edward N.. Stanford, CA: Stanford University. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/structure-scientific-theories/.Google Scholar
8
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Representational Semantic Conception
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Representational Semantic Conception
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Representational Semantic Conception
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *