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Logical Content & Empirical Significance

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Logical Content & Empirical Significance


This paper investigates the possibility of completing a Positivist style account of empirical significance. This is central to the positivists’ core project of demarcating science from metaphysics/the non-cognitively significant/ nonsense. After reviewing various reasons why the quest for a demarcation criterion has long been abandoned, it is argued that none of the traditional objections are compelling. In particular, it is shown that holism, the most widely cited ground for dismissing the possibility of a demarcation criterion, is perfectly compatible with a criterion of empirical significance. What is needed is an account that explains how a claim can be empirically significant within a given theory. It is shown that new research in logic; in particular the account of content developed in Gemes (1994) and (1996) provides machinery that solves the longstanding technical problems faced by Positivists’ attempts to formulate a holistic account of empirical significance.Article

Gemes, Ken (1998) Logical Content & Empirical Significance.


Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: In "The Role of Pragmatics in Contemporary Philosophy", P. Weingartner, G. Schurz and G. Dorn (eds.).
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Logical positivism, Holism
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
Collections: London Philosophy Papers
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URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/765
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