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I recently came across the use of the noun appeal in a book chapter by Gopnick and Wellman on Theory Theory. The sentence is:

Theoretical constructs need not be definitely observable, but they must be appeals to a set of entities removed from, and underlying, the evidential phenomena themselves.

I understand the meaning of the sentence, but I do not know, and could not find in any dictionary a definition of appeals which fits there.

Any ideas?

Reference: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/73444/1/j.1468-0017.1992.tb00202.x.pdf

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2 Answers

The Oxford English Dictionary has "4a. The call to a recognized authority for sanction, or decision in one's favour, or to a witness for corroborative testimony." In your example, theoretical constructs must call upon the recognized authority (or higher power) of the set of entities underlying the evidential phenomena for corroboration.

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Right, but this suggests the authority has some agency to take some action. Even in a metaphorical way, I do not see how entities underlying evidential phenomena could have such a property. –  user1823 Apr 19 '12 at 3:39
    
The entities they refer to are things like mass, which although typically unobservable, are the basis of theoretical constructs which can describe evidential phenomena like motion. –  user1823 Apr 19 '12 at 3:41
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From Wikitionary

3: A call upon a person or an authority for proof or decision, in one's favor; reference to another as witness; a call for help or a favor; entreaty.

EDIT:

In this case, you personify the underlying phenomena, making appeals synonymous to draw upon in this context.

Theoretical constructs need not be definitely observable, but they must draw upon a set of entities removed from, and underlying, the evidential phenomena themselves.

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Thanks, this is the same answer as Grace below, so please see my comments there. –  user1823 Apr 19 '12 at 3:42
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