Advertisement

Meaning, Truth, and Physics

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

Abstract

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.

Notes

Acknowledgements

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

References

  1. Ayer, Alfred J. 1952. Language,truth and logic. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, Eric T. 1951. Mathematics:Queen and servant of science. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.Google Scholar
  3. Colyvan, Mark. 2000. Conceptual contingency and abstract existence. The Philosophical Quarterly 50: 87–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Colyvan, Mark. 2004. Indispensability arguments in the philosophy of mathematics. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2004 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta.Google Scholar
  5. Crossley, J.N., C.J. Ash, J.C. Stillwell, N.H. Williams, and C.J. Brickhill. 1990. What is mathematical logic? New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Curry, Haskell B. 1951. Outlines of a formalist philosophy of mathematics. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  7. David Deutsch, Artur Ekert, and Rossella Lupacchini. 2000. Machines, logic and quantum physics. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 6: 265–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Einstein, Albert. 1934. On the method of theoretical physics. Philosophy of Science 1: 163–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Feynman, Richard. 1967. The character of physical law. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  10. Field, Hartry. 1993. The conceptual contingency of mathematical objects. Mind 102: 285–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hofer-Szabó, Gábor, Miklós Rédei, and László E. Szabó. 2013. The principle of the common cause. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Miller, Kristie. 2012. Mathematical contingentism. Erkenntnis 77: 335–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Reichenbach, Hans. 1956. The direction of time. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Reichenbach, Hans. 1965. The theory of relativity and a priori knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Szabó, László E. 2003. Formal system as physical objects: A physicalist account of mathematical truth. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17: 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Szabó, László E. 2012. Mathematical facts in a physicalist ontology. Parallel Processing Letters 22: 1240009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations