From the Received View to the Model-Theoretic Approach
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.
KeywordsScientific Theory Theoretical Structure Receive View Logical Empiricist Constructive Empiricism
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