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MAKING IT INTELLIGIBLE: AN HISTORICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGIBILITY IN THE ASSESSMENT OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES
MORTON, A LELAND

2006, PhD, University of Cincinnati, Arts and Sciences : Philosophy.
The principal goal of this dissertation is to develop and defend a criterion of intelligibility adequate to the task of explaining the variety of historical appeals to this notion in philosophy and, more importantly, science. The thesis I defend holds that any account capable of explaining the historical use of intelligibility in criticizing scientific explanations must begin with the fact that charges generally encapsulated concerns with theoretical terms and their associated representational contents. For individuals like Leibniz and Boyle as well as latter atomists and other nineteenth century scientists like Maxwell the pertinent question was whether the putative referents of the theoretical terms of explanations could be conceived of. “Conceiving of” for early modern thinkers had principally to do with associating terms with ideas that are either rationally grounded or derived from experience. Later theorists like Maxwell, while remaining faithful to the traditional use of intelligibility, implicitly extend the idea by associating theoretical abstractions with models that are accessible to the imagination. After establishing this core thesis I proceed to develop an alternative account of intelligibility that can accommodate the historical worries while at the same time addressing some potential philosophical challenges to the use of this notion in the assessment of scientific theories. The thesis defended in this regard is that terms are intelligible if and only if they can be associated with observationally based representations that figure in a broader network of such representations whose relations are suitably constrained by the theory.
Dr. Robert Richardson (Advisor)
240 p.

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MORTON, A. (2006). MAKING IT INTELLIGIBLE: AN HISTORICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGIBILITY IN THE ASSESSMENT OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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MORTON, A. "MAKING IT INTELLIGIBLE: AN HISTORICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGIBILITY IN THE ASSESSMENT OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2006. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 May 2015.

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MORTON, A "MAKING IT INTELLIGIBLE: AN HISTORICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGIBILITY IN THE ASSESSMENT OF SCIENTIFIC THEORIES." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2006. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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