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Empirical Adequacy and Ramsification



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Empirical Adequacy and Ramsification Jeffrey Ketland Abstract Structural realism has been proposed as an epistemological position interpolating between realism and sceptical anti realism about scientific theories The structural realist who accepts a scientific theory thinks that is empirically correct and furthermore is a realist about the structural content of But what exactly is structural content One proposal is that the structural content of a scientific theory may be associated with its Ramsey sentence However Demopoulos and Friedman argued using ideas drawn from Newman s earlier criticism of Russell s structuralism that this move fails to achieve an interesting intermediate position between realism and anti realism Rather adds little content beyond the instrumentalistically acceptable claim that the theory is empirically adequate Here we formulate carefully the crucial claim of Demopoulos and Friedman and show that the Ramsey sentence is true just in case possesses a full model which is empirically correct and satisfies a certain cardinality condition on its theoretical domain This suggests that structural realism is not a position significantly different from the anti realism it attempts to distinguish itself from 1 Introduction 2 Technical Framework 3 Ramsification 4 Empirical Adequacy 5 Ramsification Empirical Adequacy Cardinality Constraint 6 Conclusion 1 Introduction Frank Ramsey 1929 proposed a method of formalizing our scientific theories of the world as follows The Ramsey sentence of a given finitely axiomatized theory is obtained by eliminating theoretical predicates replacing them uniformly with predicate i e second order variables and prefixing the result with existential second order quantifiers 1 The epistemological significance of this technical construction it that it perhaps offers the possibility of defending a plausible intermediary or third way position between realism and anti realism under whatever guise positivism empiricism or



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