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Erkenntnis

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 77–99 | Cite as

Ramsey Equivalence

  • Neil DewarEmail author
Original Research

Abstract

In the literature over the Ramsey-sentence approach to structural realism, there is often debate over whether structural realists can legitimately restrict the range of the second-order quantifiers, in order to avoid the Newman problem. In this paper, I argue that even if they are allowed to, it won’t help: even if the Ramsey sentence is interpreted using such restricted quantifiers, it is still an implausible candidate to capture a theory’s structural content. To do so, I use the following observation: if a Ramsey sentence did encode a theory’s structural content, then two theories would be structurally equivalent just in case they have logically equivalent Ramsey sentences. I then argue that this criterion for structural equivalence is implausible, even where frame or Henkin semantics are used.

Notes

Acknowledgements

First, thanks to Hans Halvorson for significant help with beginning this project; I’m also grateful for comments and criticisms from Thomas Barrett, two anonymous referees for this journal, and the audience at the 2017 Salzburg-Irvine-Munich Workshop on Scientific Philosophy.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyMunichGermany

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