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In praise of the representation theorem.

Cartwright, N. (2008) 'In praise of the representation theorem.', in Representation, evidence, and justification : themes from Suppes. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, pp. 83-90. Lauener library of analytical philosophy., 1


This paper will take up three of Patrick Suppes’s favourite topics: representation, invariance and causality. I begin not immediately with Suppes’s own work but with that of his Stanford colleague, Michael Friedman. Friedman argues that various high level claims of physics theories are not empirical laws at all but rather constitutive principles, principles without which the concepts of the theory would lack empirical content. I do not disagree about the need for constitutive principles. Rather I think Friedman has mislocated them, and entirely at the wrong end of the scale of abstraction. It is representation theorems, as Pat pictures them, that are the true constitutive principles, and that is true for theories far beyond physics.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:Nancy Cartwright,'In praise of the representation theorem' in: Frauchiger, Michael / Essler, Wilhelm K. (ed.) of Representation, Evidence, and Justification: Themes from Suppes, Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2008, pp. 83 – 90
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:19 April 2016
Date of first online publication:2008
Date first made open access:No date available

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