Ramsey-Lewis method

Ramsey-Lewis method

The Ramsey-Lewis method is a method for defining theoretical terms, credited to Frank P. Ramsey and David Lewis. In this method, a group of theoretical terms appearing in a theory can be defined implicitly by the assertions of the theory itself.

Say you have a scientific theory that talks about 'electrons.' No one has ever observed an electron, so there's a question as to the origin and content of your concept 'electron'. What do you mean by the word? Ramsey and Lewis propose that the meaning of the term 'electron' is given implicitly by the scientific theory, with all its assertions about electrons. Electrons are those things about which all those statements are true.

But things are not as simple as it sounds, because some of those statements are also statements about other theoretical entities that we haven't observed and theoretical properties such as 'charge' and 'spin'. For instance, "Electrons attract protons" and "Electrons have negative charge."

So take a sentence like "There's an electron in the sink." This means something like this: "There exist some properties P1, P2, ... Pn (note: one for every theoretical property involved in your total scientific theory, and 'electronhood' counts as such a 'property') such that ... (note: fill this in with a statement of the scientific theory, but with P1, ... Pn substituted for the theoretical terms 'charge', 'is an electron', etc.), and there is something in the sink that has P1."

The process of converting the narrative form of a scientific theory into first-order logic is commonly called "Ramsification" (sometimes also spelled "Ramseyfication").

Example: Suppose there are only three principles in our scientific theory about electrons:
# Electrons have charge.
# Things with charge tickle you.
# Electrons cause lightning.Then the meaning of a sentence like, "I have an electron in my pocket" is:

"There are properties P1 and P2 such that (things with P1 also have P2, and things with P2 tickle you, and things with P1 cause lightning, and there is a thing with P1 in my pocket)."

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frank P. Ramsey — Infobox Philosopher region = United Kingdom era = 20th century color = #B0C4DE image size = 200px image caption = name = Frank P. Ramsey birth = 22 February 1903 death = 19 January 1930 school tradition = Analytic philosophy main interests =… …   Wikipedia

  • List of philosophy topics (R-Z) — RRaRabad Rabbinic law Rabbinic theology Francois Rabelais François Rabelais race racetrack paradox racism Gustav Radbruch Janet Radcliffe Richards Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan radical Aristotelianism radical behaviourism radical feminism radical… …   Wikipedia

  • Definition — For other uses, see Definition (disambiguation). A definition is a passage that explains the meaning of a term (a word, phrase or other set of symbols), or a type of thing. The term to be defined is the definiendum. A term may have many different …   Wikipedia

  • Level of measurement — The levels of measurement , or scales of measure are expressions that typically refer to the theory of scale types developed by the psychologist Stanley Smith Stevens. Stevens proposed his theory in a 1946 Science article titled On the theory of… …   Wikipedia

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • Музыка, использованная в телесериале «Доктор Хаус» — Эта статья должна быть полностью переписана. На странице обсуждения могут быть пояснения. Данный список иллюстрирует музыкальные композиции, которые были использованы в телесериале « …   Википедия

  • List of people who appeared on Soul Train — This is a list of performers who have appeared on the American musical dance program Soul Train. Contents 1 Alphabetized list of celebrity guests 1.1 # 1.2 A 1.3 B …   Wikipedia

  • List of jazz drummers — Jazz drummers play percussion (predominantly the drum set) in jazz, jazz fusion, and other jazz subgenres such as latin jazz. The techniques and instrumentation of this type of performance have evolved over the 1900s, influenced by jazz at large… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste Des Musiciens De Musique Afro-Américaine — Sommaire 1 Blues 1.1 Blues traditionnel 1.2 Kansas City Blues 1.3 Chicago Blues 1.4 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des musiciens de musique afro-americaine — Liste des musiciens de musique afro américaine Sommaire 1 Blues 1.1 Blues traditionnel 1.2 Kansas City Blues 1.3 Chicago Blues 1.4 …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”