A Philosophical Overview

Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 289)

Abstract

Earlier philosophers who analyzed the role of fundamental theories in physics generally assigned linguistic analysis a preliminary role. Quine and Sellars each developed methodologies for proceeding from an ordinary language framework to a final unifying framework based on anticipations of the structure ultimate theories should have. The assumption was that only the final framework supplies the true ontology. Reactions against their syntactic conception of theories led to a semantic conception of theories. The emphasis on individual theories led to interpretation through models with no role for linguistic analysis. However, linguistic considerations are indispensable when one analyzes the normal functioning of experimental and theoretical physics. Ordinary language implicitly contains various inference-supporting structures that were gradually modified in the protracted development of the language of physics. Here we consider two such structures, categorization and the metaphorical extension of terms to new contexts. We also draw on Davidson’s semantics.

Keywords

Natural Kind Ordinary Language Mercury Atom Theoretical Entity Manifest Image 
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. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State University East BayOaklandUSA

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