Overdetermination of theories by empirical models: A realist interpretation of empirical choices

Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):409-436 (2005)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

A model-theoretic realist account of science places linguistic systems and their corresponding non-linguistic structures at different stages or different levels of abstraction of the scientific process. Apart from the obvious problem of underdetermination of theories by data, philosophers of science are also faced with the inverse (and very real) problem of overdetermination of theories by their empirical models, which is what this article will focus on. I acknowledge the contingency of the factors determining the nature – and choice – of a certain model at a certain time, but in my terms, this is a matter about which we can talk and whose structure we can formalise. In this article a mechanism for tracing "empirical choices" and their particularized observational-theoretical entanglements will be offered in the form of Yoav Shoham's version of non-monotonic logic. Such an analysis of the structure of scientific theories may clarify the motivations underlying choices in favor of certain empirical models (and not others) in a way that shows that "disentangling" theoretical and observation terms is more deeply model-specific than theory-specific. This kind of analysis offers a method for getting an articulable grip on the overdetermination of theories by their models – implied by empirical equivalence – which Kuipers' structuralist analysis of the structure of theories does not offer.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Testing for convergent realism.Jerrold L. Aronson - 1989 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (2):255-259.
Towards a Theory of Models In Physical Science.John Forge - 1982 - Philosophy Research Archives 8:321-338.
Confirmation of ecological and evolutionary models.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1987 - Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):277-293.
The cognitive structure of scientific theories.Ronald N. Giere - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (2):276-296.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
158 (#81,587)

6 months
9 (#96,348)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem
University of Pretoria

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references