Francesca Biagioli

Affiliation: 

New Europe College – Institute for Advanced Study, Bucharest, Romania

Duhem and Cassirer on the Symbolic Form of Physical Reality

The French physicist, philosopher, and historian of science Pierre Duhem maintained that the mathematical development of scientific theories, which is required for inferring theoretical consequences to be put to the test, presupposes that empirical facts have been transformed and put into a symbolic form. Therefore, he defined physical laws as symbolic relations whose application to the concrete reality requires that a whole group of theories be known and accepted.