Applicability of Scientonomy to Theories as Models

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Is the theory of scientific change applicable to theories construed as sets of models, or in ways that reject their purely formal characterization?

The theory of scientific change currently defines theories as sets of descriptive or normative propositions. This definition is most closely aligned with the syntactical view of theories promulgated by logical empiricists early in the twentieth century.1 Two other competing views of the nature of scientific theories have since been proposed. The semantic view of theories holds that they should be seen as sets of models, as models were defined by Alfred Tarski. The pragmatic view rejects a purely formal characterization of theories and holds them to include sentences, models, problems, examples, skills, practices, analogies, and metaphors, some of which necessarily resist formalization.12 Is the theory of scientific change compatible with these more recent and broader views of theories?

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Markus Alliksaar in 2017. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community.

Broader History

In modern times philosophers have held varied views about how best to express the structure and content of scientific theories and about whether or not they are wholly reducible to sets of propositions.1 For a more complete discussion, see Theory.

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy10 March 2017It was acknowledged as an open question by the Scientonomy Seminar 2017.Yes

All Theories

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Accepted Theories

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Suggested Modifications

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Current View

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Related Topics

This question is a subquestion of Applicability of the Laws of Scientific Change.

This topic is also related to the following topic(s):


  1. a b c  Winther, Rasmus. (2016) The Structure of Scientific Theories. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from
  2. ^  Mormann, Thomas. (2008) Idealization in Cassirer's Philosophy of Mathematics. Philosophia Mathematica 16 (2), 151-181.