CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

The Semantic View and the Alpha-model

Richard W. Lawrence, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Humanities

Dept/Program: Philosophy

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Michael Weisberg

Date of this Version: 09 April 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.



In what follows, I discuss the semantic view of theories, specifically in the ‘state space’ formulation that has been developed by Bas van Fraassen, Frederick Suppe, and others and applied by Elisabeth Lloyd. I consider the claims that the state space view makes about how scientific theories are best understood. I then discuss a particular model from network theory, the alpha-model developed by Duncan Watts, and try to apply the state space view to the alpha-model theory. I argue that the way Watts uses the alpha-model is not described very easily under the state space approach, because its parameters are idealized in a way that the state space approach does not account for, and because the relation between the alpha-model and the world is not one of statistical fit between its models and data.

Suggested Citation

Lawrence, Richard W., "The Semantic View and the Alpha-model" 09 April 2007. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 20 April 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.




Creative Commons License Articles in CUREJ are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.