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Scientific RepresentationParadoxes of Perspective$
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Bas C. van Fraassen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278220.001.0001

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Introduction: The ‘Picture Theory of Science’

Introduction: The ‘Picture Theory of Science’

(p.1) Introduction: The ‘Picture Theory of Science’
Scientific Representation

Bas C. van Fraassen

Oxford University Press

The Bildtheorie — ‘picture theory of science’ — formed the frame for much discussion and controversy among physicists in the decades around the year 1900. It emphasizes one aspect believed to be central to the scientific enterprise: representation of the empirical phenomena, by means of artifacts, both physical and mathematical. The question to be addressed is whether such a ‘picture theory’ can be developed today compatibly with the insights claimed by empiricist and structuralist views of science.

Keywords:   Bildtheorie, Boltzmann, artifact, mental representation, phenomena, appearances, empiricism

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