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Criteria of empirical significance: a success story

Lutz, Sebastian (2010) Criteria of empirical significance: a success story. [Preprint]

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The sheer multitude of criteria of empirical significance has been taken as evidence that the pre-analytic notion being explicated is too vague to be useful. I show instead that a significant number of these criteria—by Ayer, Popper, Przełęcki, Suppes, and David Lewis, among others—not only form a coherent whole, but also connect directly to the theory of definition, the notion of empirical content as explicated by Ramsey sentences, and the theory of measurement; two criteria by Carnap and Sober are trivial, but can be saved and connected to the other criteria by slight modifications. A corollary is that the ordinary language defense of Lewis, the conceptual arguments by Ayer and Popper, the theoretical considerations by Przełęcki, and the practical considerations by Suppes all apply to the same criterion or closely related criteria. Furthermore, the equivalence of some criteria allows for their individual justifications to be taken cumulatively and, together with the entailment relations between nonequivalent criteria, suggest criteria for general auxiliary assumptions, comparative criteria, and more liberal conceptions of observation.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: An earlier version of this article received the Sir Karl Popper Essay Prize 2009 of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: empirical significance, definition, empiricism, verifiability, falsifiability
Subjects: General Issues > Conventionalism
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Sebastian Lutz
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 00:51
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2013 13:24
Item ID: 8423

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