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Nomic truth approximation by revising models and postulates in the light of increasing evidence

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The qualitative theory of nomic truth approximation, presented by Kuipers (2000), in which ‘the truth’ concerns the distinction between nomic, e.g. physical, possibilities and impossibilities, rests on a very restrictive assumption. This paper drops this assumption by fully recognizing two different functions of theories: excluding impossibilities and representing possibilities. Accordingly, theories are conceived of as tuples of postulates and models, where the postulates claim to exclude nomic impossibilities and the (not-excluded) models claim to represent nomic possibilities. Revising theories aiming at truth approximation becomes then a matter of adding or revising models and/or postulates in the light of increasing evidence. Here, truth approximation is defined as a matter of increasing truth content and decreasing falsity content.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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