Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 330)


Traditional positivist philosophy of science inherits from logical research not only its language, but also its focus on the truth question, that is to say, the purpose of using its methods as means for testing hypotheses or formulae. As we saw in the previous chapter, Hempelian models of explanation and confirmation seek to establish the conditions under which a theory (composed by scientific laws) together with initial conditions, explains a certain phenomenon or whether certain evidence confirms a theory. As for logical research, it has been characterized by two approaches, namely the syntactic and the semantic. The former account characterizes the notion of derivability and aims to answer the following question: given theory H (a set of formulae) and formula E, is E derivable from H? The latter characterizes the notion of logical consequence and responds to the following question: is E a logical consequence of H? (Equivalent to: are the models of H models of E?) Through the truth question we can only get a “yes–no” answer with regard to the truth or falsity of a given theory. Aiming solely at this question implies a static viewof scientific practice, one in which there is no place for theory evaluation or change. Notions like derivation, logical consequence, confirmation, and refutation are designed for the corroboration –logical or empirical– of theories.


Logical Consequence Theory Evaluation Open Extension Abductive Reasoning Theory Revision 
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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico

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