structure for 'Science'    |     alphabetical list of themes    |     expand these ideas

14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory

[a generalised explanation of natural events]

30 ideas
Plato says sciences are unified around Forms; Aristotle says they're unified around substance [Moravcsik on Aristotle]
General statements about nature are not valid [Novalis]
Duns Scotus offers perhaps the best logic and metaphysics for modern physical science [Peirce]
I classify science by level of abstraction; principles derive from above, and data from below [Peirce]
The building blocks contain the whole contents of a discipline [Frege]
Mathematically expressed propositions are true of the world, but how to interpret them? [Russell]
Carnap tried to define all scientific predicates in terms of primitive relations, using type theory [Button on Carnap]
Two theories can be internally consistent and match all the facts, yet be inconsistent with one another [Baggini /Fosl on Quine]
Since there are three different dimensions for generalising laws, no one system of logic can cover them [Harré]
Identities like 'heat is molecule motion' are necessary (in the highest degree), not contingent [Kripke]
Clavius's Paradox: purely syntactic entailment theories won't explain, because they are too profuse [Harré/Madden]
Simplicity can sort theories out, but still leaves an infinity of possibilities [Harré/Madden]
The powers/natures approach has been so successful (for electricity, magnetism, gravity) it may be universal [Harré/Madden]
Social sciences discover no law-like generalisations, and tend to ignore counterexamples [MacIntyre]
Why should it matter whether or not a theory is scientific? [Newton-Smith]
Theories can never represent accurately, because their components are abstract [Portides on Cartwright,N]
Theories are links in the causal chain between the environment and our beliefs [Fodor]
If we make a hypothesis about data, then a deduction, where does the hypothesis come from? [Lipton]
If the world is theory-dependent, the theories themselves can't be theory-dependent [Heil]
Neither a priori rationalism nor sense data empiricism account for scientific knowledge [Thagard]
The Principle of Conservatism says we should violate the minimum number of background beliefs [Orenstein]
Relativity ousted Newtonian mechanics despite a loss of simplicity [Bird]
Realists say their theories involve truth and the existence of their phenomena [Bird]
There is no agreement on scientific method - because there is no such thing [Bird]
Kuhn came to accept that all scientists agree on a particular set of values [Bird]
How can we mathematically describe a world that lacks humans? [Meillassoux]
Seeing reality mathematically makes it an object of thought, not of experience [Macbeth]
If a term doesn't pick out a kind, keeping it may block improvements in classification [Machery]
Vertical arguments say eliminate a term if it picks out different natural kinds in different theories [Machery]
Horizontal arguments say eliminate a term if it fails to pick out a natural kind [Machery]