From the Received View to the Model-Theoretic Approach

  • Leilei Qi
  • Huaxia Zhang
Part of the Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics book series (SAPERE, volume 2)


The nature and structure of scientific theories has long been one of the cores of philosophy of science. Since the failure of the Received View of the logic empiricists’, the concept of “paradigm” of the historical school paid attention only to the structure of scientific revolution while ignoring the structure of scientific theories. While the new empiricism studies the analogy model, it lacks precise and systematic analysis of scientific models. In recent years, philosophers inclining to logic and analytic philosophy and not satisfied with the historical approach have attempted unceasingly to find a new approach. They’ve found a way in the state space theory especially in set theory, taking models as the core of scientific theories and set theory as its semantic analytical tool. This trend has gradually entered the analysis of theoretical structure in philosophy of science, forming the model-theoretic approach of scientific theories.

The Received View in philosophy of science is the logical empiricists’ way of analyzing the structure of scientific theories. It is the central theme of philosophy of science for quite a long period in the 20th century, but encountered enormous difficulties afterwards so that one of its founders Carl Hempel announced publicly he had to give it up. Along with the death of several philosophers of science, i.e. Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and Carl G. Hempel in 1996-1997, the central thesis of philosophy of science experienced a to-and-fro process from abstract theory to experimental experience then to abstract theory. In recent years modern structuralists have built up the banner of the structure of scientific theories through set theory and model theory. This research has become a new trend. Approaches from the Received View to the model-theoretic approach are competing and complementing each other and thus greatly enrich the research content of the structure of scientific theories.


Scientific Theory Theoretical Structure Receive View Logical Empiricist Constructive Empiricism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Suppe, F.: Understanding Scientific Theories: An Assessment of Developments, 1969-1998. Philosophy of Science 67, 102–115 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hemple, C.G.: Formulation and Formalization of Scientific Theories. In: Suppe, F. (ed.) The Structure of Scientific Theories. University of Illinois Press (1979)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hanfling, O.: Logical Positivism. In: Routledge History of Philosophy, p. 193f. Routledge (2003), Read more,
  4. 4.
    Tarski, A.: Contributions to the theory of models. Indagationes Mathematicae 16, 572–588 (1954); 17, 56-64 (1955) Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    van Fraassen: The Scientific Image, p. 67. Clarendon Press, Oxford (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Suppe, F.: The Structure of scientific theories. Edited with a critical introduction by Frederick Suppe, p. 221. University of Illinois Press (1977)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    van Fraassen: On the Extension of Beth’s Semantics of Physical Theories. Philosophy of Science 37(3), 328 (1970)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Monton, B.: Constructive Empiricism. Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Suppe, F.: Theories, scientific. In: Craig, E. (ed.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, London (retrieved February 20, 2004)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Suppes, P.: Introduction to Logic, p. 249. van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1957)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Torretti, R.: The Philosophy of physics, p. 415. Cambridge University press (1999)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Philosophy of Science and TechnologySouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouP.R. China
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophySun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouP.R. China

Personalised recommendations