# Scientific Theories

- Publication Year:
- 2015

- Repository URL:
- http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11347

- Author(s):

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##### preprint description

Since the beginning of the 20th century, philosophers of science have asked, "what kind of thing is a scientific theory?" The logical positivists answered: a scientific theory is a mathematical theory, plus an empirical interpretation of that theory. Moreover, they assumed that a mathematical theory is specified by a set of axioms in a formal language. Later 20th century philosophers questioned this account, arguing instead that a scientific theory need not include a mathematical component; or that the mathematical component need not be specified by a set of axioms in a formal language. We survey various accounts of scientific theories entertained in the 20th century -- removing some misconceptions, and clearing a path for future research.