Defense of a Non-Conventionalist Interpretation of Classical Mechanics

  • C. A. Hooker
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 13)


In an earlier paper [15] I have outlined and defended a version of Scientific Realism. According to that doctrine, theories are imaginative attempts to grasp the true nature of a universe apprehended very imperfectly via the senses; they are intended literal truths (though very likely all false in fact); the correlative epistemology is naturalistic, being informed by, and in turn informing, the science of human beings. In that paper I described an alternative theory of science, which I called (after the historical tradition) Conventionalism. This theory holds that (i) there is a sharp, objective observational/theoretical dichotomy within the terms of science and (ii) all sentences in science with certain theoretical terms are to be regarded as expressing conventions (or partial conventions) for the Unking together of observational terms. Epistemologically, the purely observational level offers the only empirical content of science. These two positions are in utter opposition ontologically, epistemologically and semantically.


Classical Mechanic Balance Force Material Object Classical Mechanics Theoretical Term 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Hooker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OniarioCanada

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