Ramsey's Ramsey-sentences

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Psillos, Stathis
preprint description
In the present paper I want to do two things. First, I want to discuss Ramsey’s own views of Ramsey-sentences. This, it seems to me, is an important issue not just (or mainly) because of its historical interest. It has a deep philosophical significance. Addressing it will enable us to see what Ramsey’s lasting contribution in the philosophy of science was as well as what its relevance to today’s problems is. Since the 1950s, where the interest in Ramsey’s views has mushroomed, there have been a number of different ways to read Ramsey’s views and to reconstruct Ramsey’s project. The second aim of the present paper is to discuss the most significant and controversial of this reconstruction, viz., structuralism. After some discussion of the problems of structuralism in the philosophy of science, as this was exemplified in Bertrand Russell’s and Grover Maxwell’s views and has re-appeared in Elie Zahar’s and John Worrall’s thought, I will argue that, for good reasons, Ramsey did not see his Ramsey-sentences as part of some sort of structuralist programme. I will close with an image of scientific theories that Ramsey might have found congenial. I will call it Ramseyan humility.