Absoluteness and Conspiracy

  • Elie Zahar
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 157)


I find myself uncomfortably holding a position which is halfway between Mackie’s and Dorling’s. I am in full sympathy with Mackie’s view that absolutism cannot be ruled out on general verificationist grounds. Anyway, I thought — rather naively — that operationalism and strict verificationism were long dead. The universal quantifiers, which most respectable theories involve, constitute to my mind an insuperable obstacle to verificationism; unless of course it is assumed that the domain of discourse of such theories in finite, or at least discrete; an assumption which is unverifiable. As for operationalism, I took it for granted that the attempts to reduce all theoretical concepts to empirically decidable ones had failed; unless one weakens the operationalist requirement by admitting entities which are indirectly detectable; but then all concepts occurring in an empirically testable theory can be regarded as being ‘observational’ in this wider sense of the word.


Lorentz Transformation Sufficient Reason Inertial System Correspondence Theory Relativistic Counterpart 
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  1. 2.
    Cf Article, ‘Why did Einstein’s programme supersede Lorentz’s? (II)’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (1973), 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    G. M. Planck: ‘Die Einheit des physikalischen Weltbildes’ (1908), reprinted in H. Planck, Vortäge und Erinnerungen, Darmstadt, West Germany, 1973.Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

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  • Elie Zahar

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