Intertheoretical Relations in Diachronic Perspective


  • Carlos Ulises Moulines Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Universidad de Munich



Intertheoretical relations, specialization, extension, restatement, substitution, crystallization, metatheoretical structuralism


In Creative Understanding, Roberto Torretti lays out a classification of possible relationships between physical theories by distinguishing four big types of relationships between two given theories considered in diachronic perspective: specialization, extension, reformulation, and substitution (or replacement). Within the structuralist metatheory, this author and others also have propounded in several writings a diachronic typology of intertheoretical relations. Leaving besides differences of detail, both typologies reveal remarkable coincidences, although the structuralist typology is formally more precise than Torretti’s. However, in the last portion of this article, I discuss a further type of intertheoretical relation in diachronic perspective, which, until recently, had not been considered by any approach in philosophy of science: what I call “crystallization” and is exemplified by the development of thermodynamics in the 19th century.


Author Biography

Carlos Ulises Moulines, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Universidad de Munich

Director, Chair Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science
Professor Emeritus of the LMU (since 2012)
Ordinary member of the Bavarian Academy of Science (since 2004)

Research focus: Logic and philosophy of science
Key words: Metatheoretical structuralism, axiomatization of physical and chemical theories, history of the philosophy of science, studies on Rudolf Carnap, analytical theory of knowledge

Selected publications:

Moulines CU. (2008) Die Entwicklung der modernen Wissenschaftstheorie (1890 - 2000). LIT-Verlag, Münster.

Moulines CU. (2006) La philosophie des sciences - L'invention d'une discipline. Editions de la Rue d'Ulm, Paris, 171 p.

Moulines CU and Díez JA. (1997/1999/2008) Fundamentos de filosofí­a de la ciencia. Ariel, Barcelona, 501 p.

Moulines CU. (1991) Pluralidad y recursión. Alianza, Madrid, 310 p.

Moulines CU, Balzer W and Sneed JD. (1987) An Architectonic for Science. Reidel (Springer), Dordrecht, 431 p.


Balzer, W., C. U. Moulines y J. D. Sneed (1987). An Architectonic for Science – The Structuralist Program. Dordrecht: Reidel (Springer). Traducción al castellano de P. Lorenzano (2012): Una arquitectónica para la ciencia – El programa estructuralista. Universidad Nacional de Quilmes: Bernal (Argentina).

Bartelborth, T. (1987). Eine logische Rekonstruktion der klassischen Elektrodynamik. Frankfurt del Meno et al.: Peter Lang.

Caamaño, M. (2009). “A Structural Analysis of the Phlogiston Case”. Erkenntnis 70/3: 331-364.

Elkana, Y. (1974). The Discovery of the Conservation of Energy. Londres: Hutchinson.

Hund, F. (1972). Geschichte der physikalischen Begriffe. Mannheim et al.: Bibliographisches Institut.

Kuhn, Th. S. (1976). “Theory Change as Structure Change”, Erkenntnis, 10: 179-199.

Moulines, C. U. (2000). “Is There Genuinely Scientific Progress?” En: A. Jonkisz y L. Koj (comps.), On Comparing and Evaluating Scientific Theories. Amsterdam – Atlanta: Rodopi: 173-197.

Moulines, C. U. (2010). “The crystallization of Clausius’s phenomenological thermodynamics”. En: G. Ernst y A. Hüttemann (comps.), Time, Chance and Reduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 139-158.

Moulines, C. U. (2011). “Cuatro tipos de desarrollo teórico en las ciencias empíricas”. Metatheoria, 1/ 2: 11- 27.

Moulines, C. U. (2014). “Intertheoretical Relations and the

Dynamics of Science”. Erkenntnis, 79/8: 1505-1519.

Moulines, C. U. (2016). “Patrick Suppes: A Profile”. Journal of General Philosophy of Science, 47: 1-10.

Stegmüller, W. (1973). Theorienstrukturen und Theoriendynamik. Berlín et al.: Springer. Existe traducción al castellano de esta obra por C. U. Moulines (1976): Estructura y dinámica de teorías. Barcelona: Ariel.

Suppes, P. (1993). Models and methods in the philosophy of science. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Torretti, R. (1990). Creative Understanding. Chicago y Londres: The University of Chicago Press.



How to Cite

Moulines, C. U. (2016). Intertheoretical Relations in Diachronic Perspective. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (8), 147–162.




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