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April 2006



The daring idea that convention - human decision - lies at the root both of necessary truths and much of empirical science reverberates through twentieth-century philosophy, constituting a revolution comparable to Kant's Copernican revolution. This is the first comprehensive study of Conventionalism. Drawing a distinction between two conventionalist theses, the under-determination of science by empirical fact, and the linguistic account of necessity, Yemima Ben-Menahem traces the evolution of both ideas to their origins in Poincare's geometric conventionalism. She argues that the radical extrapolations of Poincare's ideas by later thinkers, including Wittgenstein, Quine, and Carnap, eventually led to the decline of conventionalism. This book provides a new perspective on twentieth-century philosophy. Many of the major themes of contemporary philosophy emerge in this book as arising from engagement with the challenge of conventionalism.


1. Overview: the varieties of conventionalism; 2. Origins: Poincare and Duhem and convention; 3. Relativity: from 'experience and geometry' to 'geometry and experience'; 4. Implicit definition; 5. 'Unlimited possibilities': Carnap on convention; 6. Metaphor and argument: Quine on convention; 7. Wittgenstein: from conventionalism to Iconoclasm.


Yemima Ben-Menahem is Pofessor of Philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the editor of Hilary Putnam, and co-editor of The Conceptual Foundations of Statistical Physics, a special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.


Review of the hardback: '... a wonderfully detailed look at the history of conventionalism.' Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
EAN: 9780521826198
ISBN: 0521826195
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2006
Seitenanzahl: 330 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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