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Theory flexibility and inconsistency in science.

Vickers, Peter (2014) 'Theory flexibility and inconsistency in science.', Synthese., 191 (13). pp. 2891-2906.


For several decades now philosophers have discussed apparent examples of internally inconsistent scientific theories. However, there is still much controversy over how exactly we should conceive of scientific theories in the first place. Here I argue for a new approach, whereby all of the truly important questions about inconsistency in science can be asked and answered without disagreements about theories and theory-content getting in the way. Three examples commonly described as ‘internally inconsistent theories’ are analysed in the light of this approach. In the process, the question ‘Is the theory inconsistent or not?’ is identified as a bad, or at least unimportant, question.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Inconsistency, Scientific theory, Bohr, Kirchhoff, Classical electrodynamics, Eliminativism.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final publication is available at Springer via
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:27 January 2015
Date of first online publication:September 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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