On the Propriety of Physical Theories as a Basis for Their Semantics


I argue that an adequate semantics for physical theories must be grounded on an account of the way that a theory provides formal and conceptual resources appropriate for---that have propriety in---the construction of representations of the physical systems the theory purports to treat. I sketch a precise, rigorous definition of the required forms of propriety, and argue that semantic content accrues to scientific representations of physical systems primarily in virtue of the propriety of its resources. In particular, neither the adequacy of those representations nor any referential relations their terms may enter into play any fundamental role in the determination of the representation's semantic content. One consequence is that anything like traditional Tarskian semantics is inadequate for the task.



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Erik Curiel
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

References found in this work

Logical foundations of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (11):20-40.

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