Meaning, Truth, and Physics

  • László E. Szabó
Conference paper
Part of the European Studies in Philosophy of Science book series (ESPS, volume 6)


A physical theory is a partially interpreted axiomatic formal system (L, S), where L is a formal language with some logical, mathematical, and physical axioms, and with some derivation rules, and the semantics S is a relationship between the formulas of L and some states of affairs in the physical world. In our ordinary discourse, the formal system L is regarded as an abstract object or structure, the semantics S as something which involves the mental/conceptual realm. This view is of course incompatible with physicalism. How can physical theory be accommodated in a purely physical ontology? The aim of this paper is to outline an account for meaning and truth of physical theory, within the philosophical framework spanned by three doctrines: physicalism, empiricism, and the formalist philosophy of mathematics.



The research was partly supported by the (Hungarian) National Research, Development and Innovation Office, No. K100715 and No. K115593.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Logic, Institute of PhilosophyEötvös Loránd University BudapestBudapestHungary

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