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theory


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In science, a way of looking at a field that is intended to have explanatory and predictive implications. The task for the philosophy of science has often been posed in terms of demarcating good or scientific theories from bad, unscientific ones (see falsifiability, Popper). In the heyday of logical positivism highly formal approaches to theories treated them in terms of axiomatic systems, whose theoretical terms were tightly tied to an observational vocabulary supposed to give a foundation in empirical meaning. A less formal and more contextualized approach heralded in the work of Thomas Kuhn, stressed the open-endedness of scientific activity, the heuristic value of analogies and models, and the elasticity and the holism of meaning, all of which suggested that an excessively formal approach distorted the subject.

Subjects: Philosophy


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