Structuralism About Scientific Representation

  • Martin Thomson-Jones
Chapter

Abstract

I have two central aims in this paper, both relatively modest. The first is to present some ways of thinking about structuralism about scientific representation COMP: Please set ‘Chapter 7’ before the title and make the digit 7 be prefixed in all section heads in this chapter.. After distinguishing two distinct structuralist theses about representation – “vehicle structuralism” and “content structuralism” – from one another and from various other structuralist theses about the sciences (Section 7.2), I will separate three different non-formal concepts of structure (Section 7.3.1), discuss their relationship to the familiar formal concepts (Section 7.3.2), and consider two different ways of explicating vehicle structuralism (Section 7.4). I will then go on (and this is the second aim) to present a line of argument for the conclusion that structural realists of a certain familiar sort should reject both vehicle structuralism and content structuralism, and, relatedly, the semantic view of theory structure (Sections 7.5 and 7.6). Appallingly, this conclusion may not be at odds with the commitments of any particular philosopher or group of philosophers, but I think it will be useful to spell out the connections explicitly nonetheless.

Keywords

Concrete Structure Scientific Representation Relational Structure Isomorphism Class Structural Realism 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Thomson-Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Thomson-Jones Department of PhilosophyOberlin CollegeOberlinUnited States

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