What scientific theories could not be

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


According to the semantic view of scientific theories, theories are classes of models. I show that this view-if taken literally-leads to absurdities. In particular, this view equates theories that are distinct, and it distinguishes theories that are equivalent. Furthermore, the semantic view lacks the resources to explicate interesting theoretical relations, such as embeddability of one theory into another. The untenability of the semantic view-as currently formulated-threatens to undermine scientific structuralism. 2012 by the Philosophy of Science Association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-206
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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