David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 37 (4):454–468 (2006)
In this paper, I argue that, contrary to the constructive empiricist’s position, observability is not an adequate criterion as a guide to ontological commitment in science. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the constructive empiricist’s choice of observability as a criterion for ontological commitment is based on the assumption that belief in the existence of unobservable entities is unreasonable because belief in the existence of an entity can only be vindicated by its observation. Second, I argue that the kind of ontological commitment that is under consideration when accepting a scientific theory is commitment to what I call theoretical kinds and that observation can vindicate commitment to kinds only in exceptional cases.
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References found in this work BETA
James Ladyman (2004). Constructive Empiricism and Modal Metaphysics: A Reply to Monton and Van Fraassen. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):755-765.
James Ladyman (2000). What's Really Wrong with Constructive Empiricism? Van Fraassen and the Metaphysics of Modality. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (4):837-856.
Bradley Monton & Bas C. van Fraassen (2003). Constructive Empiricism and Modal Nominalism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):405-422.
Stathis Psillos (1996). On Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Reasoning. Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):31-47.
Hilary Putnam (1973). Meaning and Reference. Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):699-711.
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