David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:151 - 164 (1976)
Descartes' methodology is ambiguous about the role of empirical evidence in science. This ambiguity does not derive from Rationalist qualms about the specifically empirical character of such evidence; for the apparant clash of experience and reason is explained by the need to re-interpret perceptions in terms of new theories, and by the frequently "contaminated" status of so-called experimental evidence. The ambiguity results, rather, from: (a) Descartes' predilection for "ordinary experience" rather than experiments as a source of warrant, and (b) the looseness of fit between hypotheses and confirming evidence. The mathematical ideal of science is a camouflage for a naive, and conceptually impoverished, empiricism.
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