The scope of a theory

(Definition) The circumstances under which a theory can be considered correct are called the scope of the theory.

The originally intended scope can shrink as new facts come to light. This happens when it turns out that some (often tacit) assumptions cannot be considered correct in all situations. In special relativity, two such assumptions are Euclidean geometry and continuous quantities. Both have already been challenged by later developments in physics.

There are plenty of other, tacit assumptions which we don't even notice. We can rest assured that all those will be challenged some day. Still, it is more constructive to say that the assumptions are correct within limits, rather than saying they are just incorrect.

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