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There Are No Such Things As Theories - Oxford Scholarship Online
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There Are No Such Things As Theories

Steven French


What is a scientific theory? Is it a set of propositions? Or a family of models? Or is it some kind of abstract artefact? These options are examined in the context of a comparison between theories and artworks. On the one hand, theories are said to be like certain kinds of paintings, in that they play a representational role; on the other, they are compared to musical works, insofar as they can be multiply presented. I shall argue that such comparisons should be treated with care and that all of the above options face problems. Instead, I suggest, we should adopt a form of eliminativism toward ... More

Keywords: Syntactic Approach, Semantic Approach, representation, aesthetics, fiction, abstract artefacts, eliminativism, realism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198848158
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198848158.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Steven French, author
Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds