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Philosophy and Model Theory$
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Tim Button and Sean Walsh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790396.001.0001

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Ramsey sentences and Newman’s objection

Ramsey sentences and Newman’s objection

(p.55) 3 Ramsey sentences and Newman’s objection
Philosophy and Model Theory

Tim Button

Sean Walsh

Oxford University Press

Concerns about referential indeterminacy also feature prominently in discussions about realism within the philosophy of science. In this chapter we examine a particular version of scientific realism that arises by considering Ramsey sentences. Roughly, these are sentences where all the theoretical vocabulary has been existentially quantified away. Ramsey sentences seem promising, since they seem to incur a kind of existential commitment to theoretical entities, which is characteristic of realism, whilst making room for a certain level referential indeterminacy. We examine both the relation between Newman's objection and the Push-Through Construction, and the relation between Ramsey sentences and various model-theoretic notions of conservation. By combining the Push-Through Construction with these notions of conservation, we show that the dialectic surrounding Newman's objection mirrors the dialectic surrounding Putnam's permutation argument in the philosophy of mathematics from chapter 2.

Keywords:   o/t dichotomy, Ramsey sentences, ramsified realism, conservation, mixed predicates, Newman’s objection, scientific realism

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