Representation: the Problem for Structuralism

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van Fraassen, Bas C.
conference paper description
What does it mean, to embed the phenomena in an abstract structure? Or to represent them by doing so? The semantic view of theories runs into a severe problem if these notions are construed either naively, in a metaphysical way, or too closely on the pattern of the earlier syntactic view. Constructive empiricism and structural realism will then share those difficulties. The problem will be posed as in Reichenbach’s The Theory of Relativity and A Priori Knowledge, and realist reactions examined, but will be argued to dissolve upon scrutiny.