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Symposium on Models in the Empirical Sciences: Models in the Empirical Sciences

DOI: 10.1016/s0049-237x(09)70589-0
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences


Publisher Summary In psychology and the social sciences, the word “model” is frequently used as a synonym for a formalized or semi-formalized theory. For example, Richard Stone's “Three Models of Economic Growth” are the three alternative theories for explaining the phenomena of economic growth expressed in mathematical form so that mathematical techniques can be used in the deductions. The chapter mentions that a scientific theory is a deductive system consisting of certain initial hypotheses at the summit and empirically testable generalizations at the base. The deductive structure of a theory is shown explicitly by expressing the theory by means of a formal axiomatic system or calculus consisting of a sequence of sentences (or formulae) in which the initial hypotheses are represented by sentences called “axioms,” and what are deduced from these hypotheses by sentences that are called the “theorems of the calculus.” Any science that has passed beyond the interlinked stages of the classification of observable properties and relations—and of the establishment of empirically testable generalizations about these observable concepts—attempts to explain these generalizations by showing that they are logical consequences of more general hypotheses.

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