Casey McCOY (Vienna/San Diego)
Underdetermination in Cosmology
The underdetermination of theory by evidence has been used to argue various (generally skeptical) epistemological positions in the philosophy of science. Among its applications are several arguments on the philosophy of cosmology, for example on the impossibility of prediction in cosmology, and against the cosmological principle, which motivates the standard model of cosmology. I argue that the skeptical conclusions of these arguments depend on an objectionably narrow construal of evidence. Allowing evidence only beliefs justified by direct acquaintance, but also to include not justified suitably by inductive and abductive reasoning gives results that illustrate how underdetermination actually plays a constructive role in scientific theory development.
Jiří RACLAVSKÝ (Brno)
Alleged Linguistic Dependence of Truthlikeness: a Backward Look on the Tichý-Miller Debate and its Relation to the Language of Science
It is already known that David Miller’s critique of Pavel Tichý’s counting of truhlikeness for its linguistic dependence affects many frameworks (cf., e.g., Oddie 1986). I review the debate between Miller (1976 and passim) and Tichý (1976, 1978, Oddie 1986, my papers). I focus mainly on the fact that it is inevitable to discriminate between primary and derivative concepts. If such distinction is made, one gets not only a solution of the puzzle raised by Miller: one offers also a more adequate picture of scientific languages in general.
Eugen ZELEŇÁK (Ružomberok)
A Constructivist View of Historical Representation
In various areas of philosophy there are ongoing discussions between realists and constructivists. One of the interesting debates takes place in the philosophy or theory of history. Some authors, usually called narrativists, argue that historical works are not simple depictions of the past reality but rather sophisticated and complicated constructions. In my presentation I concentrate on what constructivists such as L. O. Mink, Hayden White or Frank Ankersmit say about the nature of historical representation. First, I shortly outline what they take to be a naïve realistic view of history and historical representation. Second, I focus on their account of history and derive four important features from their constructivist view of historical representation: complexity, indirectness, holistic and retrospective
approach. Third, I illustrate these features referring to Danto’s discussion of narrative sentences and Mink’s points about narrative form. Finally, I consider whether this
constructivist view of historical representation may lead to what may be called non-representationalism and whether this move should be welcomed.
Lukáš BIELIK (Bratislava)
The Question of Empirical Significance from the Viewpoint of Hyperintensional Semantics
The logical positivists and empiricists such as Carnap or Hempel presupposed a very close tie between the semantics of the language of science and clearly formulated testability conditions. Thus they were confronted with the question of how to interpret theoretical terms, designating (in ideal cases) some unobservable entities, and how to explain their connection with observable entities. We argue that the competences of semantics and testability questions can be better distinguished as two separated areas if we leave aside an extensionalistic semantics and adopt a kind of hyperintensional semantics – for example, such as provided by Transparent Intensional Logic. Then it can be clearly shown that the observability or unobservability of theoretical terms’ referents does not determine their meaning. Hence the original interpretation rules of theoretical terms such as Carnap’s reduction sentences are not conceived as partial definitions of meaning, but only as methodological devices for the determination of unobservables via the theory-presupposed observable aspects. Finally, we argue that such a model of the language of science is fully compatible with Scientific Realism position.