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The semantic view of theories and higher-order languages

Hudetz, Laurenz (2019) The semantic view of theories and higher-order languages. Synthese, 196 (3). pp. 1131-1149. ISSN 0039-7857

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11229-017-1502-0


Several philosophers of science construe models of scientifc theories as set-theoretic structures. Some of them moreover claim that models should not be construed as structures in the sense of model theory because the latter are language dependent. I argue that if we are ready to construe models as set-theoretic structures (strict semantic view), we could equally well construe them as model-theoretic structures of higher-order logic (liberal semantic view). I show that every family of set-theoretic structures has an associated language of higher-order logic and an up to signature isomorphism unique model-theoretic counterpart, which is able to serve the same purposes. This allows to carry over every syntactic criterion of equivalence for theories in the sense of the liberal semantic view to theories in the sense of the strict semantic view. Taken together, these results suggest that the recent dispute about the semantic view and its relation to the syntactic view can be resolved.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 10:09
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 05:24
Projects: ICM-2015-03060
Funders: Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research

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