PSA 1974 pp 235-269 | Cite as

Meaning in Science and Mathematics

  • Paul Fitzgerald
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 32)


Philosophers working in the logical empiricist tradition, such as Rudolf Carnap and Carl Hempel, have held that theoretical terms get their meanings from their connections with observational terms in the postulates of scientific theories. They have tried to explain exactly how this happens, in the sense of giving a logical reconstruction of it. For various reasons, to be discussed below, the belief arose that it is impossible in general to give explicit definitions of theoretical terms. Attention thus shifted to showing how correspondence rules relating theoretical and observational terms give ‘partial interpretations’ to the theoretical terms.


Scientific Theory Theoretical Property Numerical Property Theoretical Term Logical Empiricist 
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  1. 2.
    For a fairly recent account along these lines, see the late Rudolf Carnap’s eminently readable Philosophical Foundations of Physics, Basic Books, Inc., New York and London, 1966, p. 267.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehman College City University of New YorkUSA

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