Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 17, number 51, diciembre 1985
El concepto de teoría empírica según van Fraassen
[The Concept of Empirical Theory according to van Fraassen]
Ana Rosa Pérez Ransanz
Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


During the last two decades a new approach in philosophy of science has been developed, especially with respect to the nature, structure and function of empirical theories.

The novelty of this approach can best be understood by contrast to the common viewpoint of all other previous conceptions, Three of the most important schools in contemporary philosophy of science, logical empiricism, Popper’s school, and the historicists, different as their outlooks are, all share the idea that scientific theories must be analysed through their linguistic formulations. Some philosophers have even identified theories with their linguistic formulations. Thus it is sometimes said they maintain a “statement view” of, or a “syntactic approach” to, theories.

An alternative approach, developed by authors from different schools of thought has attempted to develop a more adequate conception of a theory by means of the notions of a model or an application. This is the core of the semantic or model-theoretic conception of scientific theories.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss some recent ideas of Bas van Fraassen, who has made important contributions to this semantic conception.


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