PhilSci Archive

Similarity Structure on Scientific Theories

Fletcher, Samuel C. (2018) Similarity Structure on Scientific Theories. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
Text
warsaw.pdf

Download (750kB) | Preview

Abstract

I review and amplify on some of the many uses of representing a scientific theory in a particular context as a collection of models endowed with a similarity structure, which encodes the ways in which those models are similar to one another. This structure, which is related to topological structure, proves fruitful in the analysis of a variety of issues central to the philosophy of science. These include intertheoretic reduction, emergent properties, the epistemic connections between modeling and inference, the semantics of counterfactual conditionals, and laws of nature. The morals are twofold: first, the further adoption of formal methods for describing similarity (and related topological) structure has the potential to aid in decisive progress in philosophy of science; and second, the selection and justification of such structure is not a matter of technical convenience, but rather often involves great conceptual and philosophical subtlety. I conclude with various directions for future research.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fletcher, Samuel C.scfletch@umn.edu0000-0002-9061-8976
Additional Information: Forthcoming in the de Gruyer volume "Topological Philosophy", edited by Bartlomiej Skowron.
Keywords: Similarity, topology, intertheoretic reduction, emergence, stability, counterfactual conditionals
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Prof. Samuel C. Fletcher
Date Deposited: 27 May 2020 00:36
Last Modified: 27 May 2020 00:36
Item ID: 17222
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 19 February 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17222

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item