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A Modal-Semantic Approach to Theories and Surplus Structure

Class of 2022
Frankie is part of the class of 2022 at SLU and majored in philosophy and mathematics. He has research interests in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. In particular, he is interested in sense-making, especially from the perspective of embodied cognition. During the summer of 2022, Frankie designed and...

The Syntactic View, the Semantic View, and the Pragmatic View, three historically prevailing approaches to the structure of scientific theory, each had crucial successes and failures. This paper outlines each of those views, addresses those successes and failures, and suggests a way to synthesize the useful formal rigor of semantic approaches with the practical concerns of pragmatic approaches. This is done through a recharacterization of the notion of surplus structure in the Semantic View. The end result is a scheme for formalizing important pragmatic structures of theory.