Extensionalism and intensionalism in the realist-SSK 'debate'

  • Edward Mariyani-Squire University of Western Sydney
Keywords: strong programme, sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), meaning finitism, extensionalism, intensionalism, transcendental realism


The 'strong programme' in the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) is based upon finitism and extensionalism. This article examines a critique of these bases. It is argued that David Tyfield's (2008; 2009) realist critique and his alternative intensionalist account of meaning face problems at least as serious as those he identifies in the strong programme’s finitism. This is not to say that the strong programme is problem-free: it fails to give sufficient acknowledgement to non-conventional constraints on meaning formation and change. It is also suggested that, as they are currently conceived, realism's intensionalism and the strong programme's extensionalism are irreconcilably incompatible at such a basic level that the 'debate' between them reduces to an exchange of 'assurances'.

Author Biography

Edward Mariyani-Squire, University of Western Sydney

Edward Mariyani-Squire is a member of the School of Economics and Finance at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. His research focuses on the philosophy of science, economic methodology and its history, and the foundations of political economy and economics.

How to Cite
Mariyani-Squire, E. (2010). Extensionalism and intensionalism in the realist-SSK ’debate’. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 3(2), 26-46. https://doi.org/10.23941/ejpe.v3i2.54