Journal Article

On the Rational Reconstruction of our Theoretical Knowledge

William Demopoulos

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 54, issue 3, pages 371-403
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
On the Rational Reconstruction of our Theoretical Knowledge

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This paper concerns the rational reconstruction of physical theories initially advanced by F. P. Ramsey and later elaborated by Rudolf Carnap. The Carnap–Ramsey reconstruction of theoretical knowledge is a natural development of classical empiricist ideas, one that is informed by Russell's philosophical logic and his theories of propositional understanding and knowledge of matter; as such, it is not merely a schematic representation of the notion of an empirical theory, but the backbone of a general account of our knowledge of the physical world. Carnap–Ramsey is an illuminating approach to epistemological problems that remain with us, one whose difficulties are shared by accounts that have sought to replace it.

1 Introduction

2 Russell's theory of propositional understanding

3 Ramsey's primary and secondary systems

4 Carnap's reconstruction of the language of science and an observation of Newman

5 Extension of the foregoing to constructive empiricism

6 Putnam's model‐theoretic argument and the semantic view of theories

7 The problem clarified and resolved

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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