Variations on A Theme by Duhem

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Liu, Chuang
preprint description
This paper contains four variations on Duhem's theme about the contrast between the abstract French mind and the concrete British mind. The first variation brings out the real contrast between two types of methods and their results: the A(bstract) method or models and the C(oncrete) method or models. The second variation gives a critical discussion of the Callender-Cohen deflationary contruel of scientific representation. The third variation discusses Russell's structuralism in connection to the theme. And the fourth variation critically discusses the relationship between models and fiction in connection to the distinction between the A-models and the C-models. A coda maps out without sufficiently detailed arguments the author's view on the nature of the C-models and why they, and only they, can be viewed as fully fictional.