Models and Theories
Place of publicationCham
SourceSpringer handbook of model-based science
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Both the received view (RV ) and the semantic view (SV ) of scientific theories are explained. The arguments against the RV are outlined in an effort to highlight how focusing on the syntactic character of theories led to the difficulty in characterizing theoretical terms, and thus to the difficulty in explicating how theories relate to experiment. The absence of the representational function of models in the picture drawn by the RV becomes evidentand one does not fail to see that the SV is in part a reaction to – what its adherents consider to be an – excessive focus on syntax by its predecessor and in part a reaction to the complete absence of models from its predecessor’s philosophical attempt to explain the theory–experiment relation. The SV is explained in an effort to clarify its main features but also to elucidate the differences between its different versions. Finally, two kinds of criticism are explained that affect all versions of the SV but which do not affect the view that models have a warranted degree of importance in scientific theorizing.