operationalism

<gnoseology, philosophy of science> belief that the meaning of scientific terms and concepts is wholly captured by a description of the process that determines their applicability in particular cases. On this view, theoretical entities are merely logical constructs. Recommended Reading: Charles S. Peirce: The Essential Writings, ed. by Edward C. Moore and Richard Robin (Prometheus, 1998) and Percy W. Bridgman, Logic of Modern Physics (Ayer, 1980).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]

<2001-12-04>

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Nearby terms: Open Source Definition « Open Source Initiative « Open source license « operationalism » operational semantics » operator » opinion

operational semantics

<semantics> A set of rules specifying how the state of an actual or hypothetical computer changes while executing a program. The overall state is typically divided into a number of components, e.g. stack, heap, registers etc. Each rule specifies certain preconditions on the contents of some components and their new contents after the application of the rule.

It is similar in spirit to the notion of a Turing machine, in which actions are precisely described in a mathematical way.

Compare axiomatic semantics, denotational semantics.

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<2001-03-16>

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Nearby terms: Open Source Initiative « Open source license « operationalism « operational semantics » operator » opinion » O proposition