LogiCIC/LIRa session: Theo Kuipers

On Thursday January 21st, we will have a joint LogiCIC/LIRa session with Theo Kuipers. Everyone is cordially invited!

Speaker: Theo Kuipers (University of Groningen)

Date and Time: Thursday, January 21st 2016, 16:00-17:30

Venue: Science Park 107, Room F1.15

Title: Concretizations of two-sided nomic truth approximation: quantification, refinement, and stratification.

Abstract. In a recent paper, entitled “Models, postulates, and generalized nomic truth approximation” (Synthese, open access, online DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0916-9) I have shown that nomic truth approximation can perfectly be achieved by combining two prima facie opposing views on theories:

  1. The traditional view: theories are sets of (models satisfying) postulates that exclude certain possibilities from being realizable.
  2. The model view: theories are sets of models that claim to represent certain realizable possibilities, at least approximately.

From this combined perspective, nomic truth approximation, in the sense of increasing truth-content and decreasing falsity-content, can be reconstructed as a matter of revising theories by revising their models (M-side) and/or their postulates (P-side) in the face of increasing evidence.

My pre-2012 work on truth approximation, notably Kuipers (2000), was restricted to maximal theories, that is, theories in which the models are just all structures satisfying the postulates. Hence, the present two-sided approach is a far-reaching generalization. It even leaves room for two extremes: pure theories of postulates and pure theories of models.

The recent paper is based on the simplest assumptions about the further nature of theories and their claims. Starting from this ‘basic’ version I want to examine in the present paper three perspectives for concretization, 1) a quantitative/probabilistic version, 2) a refined version based on an underlying ternary similarity relation between possibilities (notably, structurelikeness between structures), 3) a stratified version based on a (theory-relative) distinction between an observational and a theoretical level.

Kuipers, T., (2000), From Instrumentalism to Constructive Realism, Springer, Dordrecht, 2000.