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Volume 17, 2002

Semantic Theory and Reported Speech

Hans Lenk
Pages 171-187

Epistemological Remarks Concerning the Concepts “Theory” and “Theoretical Concepts”

Current interpretations of the concept of theory by philosophers of science of different orientations are sketched out, in particular the traditional statement view (theories as systems of statements) and the formal axiomatic interpretation (theories as calculi) as well as the historical or historicist interpretation of theories as series of successive research programs or paradigms etc. (theory dynamics). In addition, the model-theoretical nonstatement view (the so-called structuralist interpretation) of theories is roughly delineated and discussed as regards the status and interpretation of theoretical (T-theoretical) concepts. Finally, technological and action-theoretical approaches defining the model-theoretic view are presented as particularly apt for a methodology of technology. A number of recommendations are developed from this, particularly the idea of satisficing in construction theory and the methodological idea of optimum fit instead of approximation to truth. The interplay between action, experiment and gaining knowledge is highlighted from a methodological and schema-interpretationist perspective. This approach seems to be conducive to a methodology and epistemology of engineering sciences, in particular construction theory and design theory.