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By Wolfgang Stegmüller

The current textual content originated with the goal of writing a short respond to Feyerabend's targeted dialogue of my ebook The constitution and Dynamics of Theories. For purposes defined within the creation this grew to become out to be an most unlikely project. What resulted used to be a self-contained new method of the structuralist view, mixed with an try to carry it modern by way of together with a file at the newest advancements. As concerns stand it is going to were unreasonable and unfair of me to invite the editors of The British magazine for the Philosophy of technological know-how to post this article which exceeds via a long way the dimensions of a standard essay. therefore, a separate ebook appeared beneficial. i'm deeply indebted to Springer-Verlag for making this ebook attainable. because the book of the above-mentioned e-book i've got realized much from the works, partially unpublished, of Professor Joseph D. Sneed, Professor Carlos­ Ulises Moulines, and Dr. Wolfgang Balzer. I should still prefer to thank my co-workers Dr. Wolfgang Balzer and Dr. Matthias Varga von Kibed and my pupil Michael Heidelberger for lots of confident, severe comments at the first draft of the manuscript and, moreover, Dr. Balzer for gathering and orga­ nizing the cloth for the Formal Appendix. final, yet no longer least, I convey my hot due to Mrs. Clara Seneca, Oldenburg, and Mr. Roberto Minio, Springer­ Verlag, for amending my English formulations. V desk of Contents advent ....................................... .

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Example text

Since the newcomers not only have to tinker away at a given theory-net but also have to thoroughly rebuild a new one, beginning with a new basic core, the scientific work may go on for more than a generation before the progressive character of the novelty becomes known. However much work is done on the empirical and theoretical level during this period, the researchers will derive their working energy not from these fragmentary insights at all, but from their belief and hope in final success. This being the case, one can justifiably say that the fresh start has neither a theoretical nor an empirical fundament and is still by no means irrational.

The pragmatically enriched conceptual apparatus sketched above derives part of its importance from its usefulness for the study of particular historical processes. As Moulines was able to show, the evolution of Newtonian particle mechanics was a progressive evolution for a certain period of history but it was never a perfect one. From such results it does not follow that the utopian character of perfect evolutions makes this concept worthless. It can be used, for example, to get a firm grasp on the 'gap between ideal and reality', the ideal being posited not on the meta-level by the analyzing philosopher but on the object-level by the members of the scientific communities.

Since the completion of the work depends on growth of the scientific community, it is small wonder that attempts are continually made to win interested persons as co-workers by means of methods which look more like propaganda than like rational arguments. All reduction concepts mentioned above belong to the family of strict reduction. In many cases it will be necessary to replace the concepts belonging to this family by more liberal ones of the approximative type. While the structuralist approach originally contained no reference to approximation, some promising attempts have recently been made in explicating concepts like approximate applications of theories and approximative reduction of theories to others.

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