A Comparison of Two Recent Views on Theories

  • E. Scheibe


In the following paper I am going to give a partial comparison of two recent proposals for the concept of a physical theory. The first proposal is due to Ludwig, and its original version appeared in Ludwig 1970 as a by-product of an attempt to give a physically satisfactory axiomatization of quantum mechanics. Meanwhile Ludwig has further developed his concept, and a selfcontained presentation of it was given in Ludwig 1978. Using earlier approaches to the axiomatization of classical mechanics the second proposal was made by Sneed in connection with the socalled problem of theoretical terms (Sneed 1971). In contrast to the Ludwig approach which has remained isolated up to this very day, Sneed’s conception has received much attention and was even presented as the way out of the difficulties that beset the orthodox view of scientific theories (see Stegmüller 1979 for an up-to-date account). In my own opinion this situation is nothing but an historical accident and does not in the least mirror the respective merits of the two approaches. Consequently, calling attention also to Ludwig’s work certainly is one main purpose of my paper. But I have to admit from the outset that this purpose will be connected with a rather special interest in a foundational problem concerning the concepts in question. Although the solution of this problem will lead us to confront them, on account of the limited aspect chosen the resulting comparison will be very selective, and a thoroughgoing comparative appreciation, however welcome it would be, is beyond the scope of this paper.


Physical Theory Theory Element Primary Language Scale Term Recent View 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Scheibe
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophisches SeminarUniversität Nikolausberger Weg 9cGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

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