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Representation and Invariance of Scientific Structures
CSLI Publications (distributed by Chicago University Press) (2002)
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According to the semantic view, a theory is characterized by a class of models. In this paper, we examine critically some of the assumptions that underlie this approach. First, we recall that models are models of something. Thus we cannot leave completely aside the axiomatization of the theories under consideration, nor can we ignore the metamathematics used to elaborate these models, for changes in the metamathematics often impose restrictions on the resulting models. Second, based on a parallel between van Fraassen’s (...) 

Machery and Weiskopf argue that the kind concept is a natural kind if and only if it plays an explanatory role in cognitive scientific explanations. In this paper, we argue against this explanationist approach to determining the natural kindhood of concept. We first demonstrate that hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts afford the kind concept different explanatory roles. Then, we argue that we cannot decide between hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts, because each endorses a different, but equally (...) 

Following ideas elaborated by Hering in his celebrated analysis of color, the psychologist and gestalt theorist Otto Selz developed in the 1930s a theory of “natural space”, i.e., space as it is conceived by us. Selz’s thesis is that the geometric laws of natural space describe how the points of this space are related to each other by directions which are ordered in the same way as the points on a sphere. At the end of one of his articles, Selz (...) 

There is nowadays consensus in the community of didactics of science regarding the need to include the philosophy of science in didactical research, science teacher education, curriculum design, and the practice of science education in all educational levels. Some authors have identified an everincreasing use of the concept of ‘theoretical model’, stemming from the socalled semantic view of scientific theories. However, it can be recognised that, in didactics of science, there are oversimplified transpositions of the idea of model. In this (...) 

The structure of natural languages is usually studied from three major different but interconnected points of view: syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. If we consider that the main purpose of natural languages is communication, we should consider another dimension for languages, which deals with the influence of internal states of communicating individuals on meanings. Such a dimension we refer to as internalism. Within this context, internalism cannot be confused with psycholinguistics, in the same way pragmatics cannot be confused with sociolinguistics. In (...) 

In this paper I consider some logical and mathematical aspects of the discussion of the identity and individuality of quantum entities. I shall point out that for some aspects of the discussion, the logical basis cannot be put aside; on the contrary, it leads us to unavoidable conclusions which may have consequences in how we articulate certain concepts related to quantum theory. Behind the discussion, there is a general argument which suggests the possibility of a metaphysics of nonindividuals, based on (...) 

This paper aims to set forth Carnapian structuralism, i.e., a syntactic view of the structuralist approach which is deeply inspired by Carnap’s dual level conception of scientific theories. At its core is the axiomatisation of a metatheoretical concept AE(T) which characterises those extensions of an intended application that are admissible in the sense of being models of the theoryelement T and that satisfy all links, constraints and specialisations. The union of axiom systems of AE(T) (where T is an element of (...) 

Although there has been a recent swell of interest in theories of truth that attempt solutions to the liar paradox and the other paradoxes affecting our concept of truth, many of these theories have been criticized for generating new paradoxes, called revenge paradoxes. The criticism is that the theories of truth in question are inadequate because they only work for languages lacking in the resources to generate revenge paradoxes. Theorists facing these objections offer a range of replies, and the matter (...) 

First of all, I agree with much of what F.A. Muller says in his article ‘Reflections on the revolution in Stanford’. And where I differ, the difference is on the decision of what direction of further development represents the best choice for the philosophy of science. I list my remarks as a sequence of topics. 

We inquire into the question whether the Aristotelean or classical \emph{ideal} of science has been realised by the Model Revolution, initiated at Stanford University during the 1950ies and spread all around the world of philosophy of science  \emph{salute} P.\ Suppes. The guiding principle of the Model Revolution is: \emph{a scientific theory is a set of structures in the domain of discourse of axiomatic settheory}, characterised by a settheoretical predicate. We expound some critical reflections on the Model Revolution; the conclusions (...) 



A central component to scientific practice is the construction and use of scientific models. Scientists believe that the success of a model justifies making claims that go beyond the model itself. However, philosophical analysis of models suggests that drawing inferences about the world from successful models is more complex. In this dissertation I develop a framework that can help disentangle the related strands of evaluation of model success, model extendibility, and the ability to draw ampliative inferences about the world from (...) 

The thesis of this article is that the nature of probability is centered on its formal properties, not on any of its standard interpretations. Section 2 is a survey of Bayesian applications. Section 3 focuses on two examples from physics that seem as completely objective as other physical concepts. Section 4 compares the conflict between subjective Bayesians and objectivists about probability to the earlier strident conflict in physics about the nature of force. Section 5 outlines a pragmatic approach to the (...) 

ABSTRACTIn this article, I develop three conceptual innovations within the area of formal metatheory, and present a computer program, called Reconstructor, that implements those developments. The first development consists in a methodology for testing formal reconstructions of scientific theories, which involves checking both whether translations of paradigmatically successful applications into models satisfy the formalisation of the laws, and also whether unsuccessful applications do not. I show how Reconstructor can help carry this out, since it allows the enduser to specify a (...) 

This paper offers a novel way of reconstructing conceptual change in empirical theories. Changes occur in terms of the structure of the dimensions—that is to say, the conceptual spaces—underlying the conceptual framework within which a given theory is formulated. Five types of changes are identified: (1) addition or deletion of special laws, (2) change in scale or metric, (3) change in the importance of dimensions, (4) change in the separability of dimensions, and (5) addition or deletion of dimensions. Given this (...) 

By understanding laws of nature as geometrical rather than linguistic entities, this paper addresses how to describe theory structures and how to evaluate their continuity. Relying on conceptual spaces as a modelling tool, we focus on the conceptual framework an empirical theory presupposes, thus obtain a geometrical representation of a theory’s structure. We stress the relevance of measurement procedures in separating conceptual from empirical structures. This lets our understanding of scientific laws come closer to scientific practice, and avoids a widely (...) 

Syntactic approaches in the philosophy of science, which are based on formalizations in predicate logic, are often considered in principle inferior to semantic approaches, which are based on formalizations with the help of structures. To compare the two kinds of approach, I identify some ambiguities in common semantic accounts and explicate the concept of a structure in a way that avoids hidden references to a specific vocabulary. From there, I argue that contrary to common opinion (i) unintended models do not (...) 

According to the semantic view, a theory is characterized by a class of models. In this paper, we examine critically some of the assumptions that underlie this approach. First, we recall that models are models of something. Thus we cannot leave completely aside the axiomatization of the theories under consideration, nor can we ignore the metamathematics used to elaborate these models, for changes in the metamathematics often impose restrictions on the resulting models. Second, based on a parallel between van Fraassen’s (...) 

This thesis inquires what it means to interpret nonrelativistic quantum mechanics (QM), and the philosophical limits of this interpretation. In pursuit of a scientificrealist stance, a metametaphysical method is expanded and applied to evaluate rival interpretations of QM, based on the conceptual distinction between ontology and metaphysics, for objective theory choice in metaphysical discussions relating to QM. Three cases are examined, in which this metametaphysical method succeeds in indicating what are the wrong alternatives to interpret QM in metaphysical terms. The (...) 

This book aims to lay bare the logical foundations of tractable reasoning. It draws on Marvin Minsky's seminal work on frames, which has been highly influential in computer science and, to a lesser extent, in cognitive science. Only very few people have explored ideas about frames in logic, which is why the investigation in this book breaks new ground. The apparent intractability of dynamic, inferential reasoning is an unsolved problem in both cognitive science and logicoriented artificial intelligence. By means of (...) 



Science depends on judgments of the bearing of evidence on theory. Scientists must judge whether an observation or the result of an experiment supports, disconfirms, or is simply irrelevant to a given hypothesis. Similarly, scientists may judge that, given all the available evidence, a hypothesis ought to be accepted as correct or nearly so, rejected as false, or neither. Occasionally, these evidential judgments can be made on deductive grounds. If an experimental result strictly contradicts a hypothesis, then the truth of (...) 

This paper aims to study the foundations of applied mathematics, using a formalized base theory for applied mathematics: \ with atoms, where the subscript used refers to a signature specific to the application. Examples are given, illustrating the following five features of applied mathematics: comprehension principles, application conditionals, representation hypotheses, transfer principles and abstract equivalents. 

The anticausal prophecies of last century have been disproved. Causality is neither a ‘relic of a bygone’ nor ‘another fetish of modern science’; it still occupies a large part of the current debate in philosophy and the sciences. This investigation into causal modelling presents the rationale of causality, i.e. the notion that guides causal reasoning in causal modelling. It is argued that causal models are regimented by a rationale of variation, nor of regularity neither invariance, thus breaking down the dominant (...) 

In the epistemological tradition, there are two main interpretations of the semantic relation that an empirical theory may bear to the real world. According to realism, the theoryworld relationship should be conceived as truth; according to instrumentalism, instead, it should be limited to empirical adequacy. Then, depending on how empirical theories are conceived, either syntactically as a class of sentences, or semantically as a class of models, the concepts of truth and empirical adequacy assume different and specific forms. In this (...) 

Designing models of complex phenomena is a difficult task in engineering that can be tackled by composing a number of partial models to produce a global model of the phenomena. We propose to embed the partial models in software agents and to implement their composition as a cooperative negotiation between the agents. The resulting multiagent system provides a global model of a phenomenon. We applied this approach in modelling two complex physiological processes: the heart rate regulation and the glucoseinsulin metabolism. (...) 

This article argues that the muchmaligned ‘notational variants’ of a given formal linguistic theory play a role similar to alternative numerical measurement scales. Thus, they can be used to identify the invariant components of the grammar; i.e., those features that do not depend on the choice of empirically equivalent representation. Treating these elements as the ‘meaningful’ structure of language has numerous consequences for the philosophy of science and linguistics. I offer several such examples of how linguistic theorizing can profit from (...) 

In this contribution, I comment on Raffaella Campaner’s defense of explanatory pluralism in psychiatry (in this volume). In her paper, Campaner focuses primarily on explanatory pluralism in contrast to explanatory reductionism. Furthermore, she distinguishes between pluralists who consider pluralism to be a temporary state on the one hand and pluralists who consider it to be a persisting state on the other hand. I suggest that it would be helpful to distinguish more than those two versions of pluralism – different understandings (...) 



There is a great deal of justified concern about continuity through scientific theory change. Our thesis is that, particularly in physics, such continuity can be appropriately captured at the level of conceptual frameworks using conceptual space models. Indeed, we contend that the conceptual spaces of three of our most important physical theories—Classical Mechanics, Special Relativity Theory, and Quantum Mechanics —have already been so modelled as phasespaces. Working with their phasespace formulations, one can trace the conceptual changes and continuities in transitioning (...) 

Our aim in this article is to show how the theory of conceptual spaces can be useful in describing diachronic changes to conceptual frameworks, and thus useful in understanding conceptual change in the empirical sciences. We also compare the conceptual space approach to Moulines’s typology of intertheoretical relations in the structuralist tradition. Unlike structuralist reconstructions, those based on conceptual spaces yield a natural way of modeling the changes of a conceptual framework, including noncumulative changes, by tracing the changes to the (...) 

It is easy to show that in many natural axiomatic formulations of physical and even mathematical theories, there are many superfluous concepts usually assumed as primitive. This happens mainly when these theories are formulated in the language of standard set theories, such as Zermelo–Fraenkel’s. In 1925, John von Neumann created a set theory where sets are definable by means of functions. We provide a reformulation of von Neumann’s set theory and show that it can be used to formulate physical and (...) 

In this work, the first of a series, we study the nature of informal inconsistency in physics, focusing mainly on the foundations of quantum theory, and appealing to the concept of quasitruth. We defend a pluralistic view of the philosophy of science, grounded on the existence of inconsistencies and on quasitruth. Here, we treat only the ‘classical aspects’ of the subject, leaving for a forthcoming paper the ‘nonclassical’ part. 

After recalling the distinction between logic as reasoning and logic as theory of reasoning, we first examine the question of relativity of logic arguing that the theory of reasoning as any other science is relative. In a second part we discuss the emergence of universal logic as a general theory of logical systems, making comparison with universal algebra and the project of mathesis universalis. In a third part we critically present three lines of research connected to universal logic: logical pluralism, (...) 

We discuss Kunen’s algorithmic implementation of a proof for the Paris–Harrington theorem, and the author’s and da Costa’s proposed “exotic” formulation for the P = NP hypothesis. Out of those two examples we ponder the relation between mathematics within an axiomatic framework, and intuitive or informal mathematics. 

Setvalued choice functions provide a framework that is general enough to encompass a wide variety of theories that are significant to the study of rationality but, at the same time, offer enough structure to articulate consistency conditions that can be used to characterize some of the theories within this encompassed variety. Nonetheless, twotiered choice functions, such as those advocated by Isaac Levi, are not easily characterized within the framework of setvalued choice functions. The present work proposes conditional choice functions as (...) 

In economics, the concept of time discounting introduces weights on future goods to make these less valuable. Yet, both the conceptual motivation for time discounting and its specic functional form remain contested. To address these problems, this paper provides a measurementtheoretic framework of representation for time discounting. The representation theorem characterises time discounting factors by representations of time dierences. This general result can be interpreted with existing theories of time discounting to clarify their formal and conceptual assumptions. It also provides (...) 

‘The problem with simulations is that they are doomed to succeed.’ So runs a common criticism of simulations—that they can be used to ‘prove’ anything and are thus of little or no scientific value. While this particular objection represents a minority view, especially among those who work with simulations in a scientific context, it raises a difficult question: what standards should we use to differentiate a simulation that fails from one that succeeds? In this paper we build on a structural (...) 

This article provides a spatial analysis of the conceptual framework of fluid dynamics during the nineteenth century, focusing on the transition from the Euler equation to the Navier–Stokes equation. A dynamic version of Peter Gärdenfors's theory of conceptual spaces is applied which distinguishes changes of five types: addition and deletion of special laws; change of metric; change in importance; change in separability; addition and deletion of dimensions. The case instantiates all types but the deletion of dimensions. We also provide a (...) 

This article argues that the credibility of both theoretical and empirical models in economics is best understood through their connection with the empirical aspects of the real world. The discussion herein demonstrates that the similarity between the model and the real world is not enough to justify a theoretical model’s explanatory power. The best way to secure the model’s credibility is to prove the existence of representation theorems. 

Read argues that modeling cultural idea systems serves to make explicit the cultural rules through which "cultural idea systems" frame behaviors that are culturally meaningful. Because cultural rules are typically "invisible" to us, one of the anthropologists' tasks is to elicit these rules, make them explicit and then use them to build explanations for patterns in cultural phenomena. The main example of Read's approach to cultural idea systems is the formal modeling of kinship terminologies. I reconstruct Read's modeling strategy as (...) 

I show that extant attempts to capture and generalize empirical adequacy in terms of partial structures fail. Indeed, the motivations for the generalizations in the partial structures approach are better met by the generalizations via approximation sets developed in “Generalizing Empirical Adequacy I”. Approximation sets also generalize partial structures. 

The object of this paper is to look at the extent and nature of the uses of analogy during the ªrst century following the socalled scientiªc revolution. Using the research tool provided by JSTOR we systematically analyze the uses of “analog” and its cognates (analogies, analogous, etc.) in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London for the period 1665–1780. In addition to giving the possibility of evaluating quantitatively the proportion of papers explicitly using analogies, this approach makes it (...) 



Following the proposal of a new kind of selective structural realism that uses as a basis the distinction between framework and interaction theories, this work discusses relevant applications in fundamental physics. An ontology for the different entities and properties of wellknown theories is thus consistently built. The case of classical field theories—including general relativity as a classical theory of gravitation—is examined in detail, as well as the implications of the classification scheme for issues of realism in quantum mechanics. These applications (...) 

This paper intends to introduce the three issues of Principia which will appear in a sequel honoring Newton da Costa’s 80th birthday. Instead of presenting the papers one by one, as it is common in presentations such as this one, we have left the papers speak by themselves, and instead we have preferred to present to the Brazilian readers, specialty to our students, some aspects of Newton da Costa’s conception of science and of the scientific activity, grounded on the concept (...) 

It is well known that Felix Klein took a decisive step in investigating the invariants of transformation groups. However, less attention has been given to Klein’s considerations on the epistemological implications of his work on geometry. This paper proposes an interpretation of Klein’s view as a form of mathematical structuralism, according to which the study of mathematical structures provides the basis for a better understanding of how mathematical research and practice develop. 

Three metascientific concepts that have been object of philosophical analysis are the concepts oflaw, model and theory. The aim ofthis article is to present the explication of these concepts, and of their relationships, made within the framework of Sneedean or Metatheoretical Structuralism (Balzer et al. 1987), and of their application to a case from the realm of biology: Population Dynamics. The analysis carried out will make it possible to support, contrary to what some philosophers of science in general and of (...) 

The philosophy of science of Patrick Suppes is centered on two important notions that are part of the title of his recent book (Suppes 2002): Representation and Invariance. Representation is important because when we embrace a theory we implicitly choose a way to represent the phenomenon we are studying. Invariance is important because, since invariants are the only things that are constant in a theory, in a way they give the “objective” meaning of that theory. Every scientific theory gives a (...) 