Reconstructing Scientific Theory Change by Means of Frames

Chapter
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 94)

Abstract

This paper has two aims. The first is to show the usefulness and intuitiveness of frame theory in reconstructing scientific classification systems. The second is to employ such reconstructions in order to make headway in the scientific realism debate and, more specifically, in the question concerning scientific theory change. Two case studies are utilised with the second aim in mind. The first concerns the transition from the phlogiston theory to the oxygen theory of combustion, while the second concerns the transition from the caloric theory to the kinetic theory of heat. Frame-theoretic reconstructions of these theories reveal substantial structural continuities across theory change. This outcome supports a structural realist view of science, according to which successful scientific theories reveal only structural features of the unobservable world.

Keywords

Frames Scientific classification system Structural realism Theory change 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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