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 1990:381 - 392 (1990)
Van Fraassen has maintained that acceptance of a scientific theory does not involve the belief that the theory is true. Blackburn, Mitchell and Horwich have claimed that acceptance, as understood by van Fraassen, is the same as belief; in which case, van Fraassen's position is incoherent. Van Fraassen identifies belief with subjective probability, so the question at issue is really whether acceptance of a theory involves a high subjective probability for the theory. Van Fraassen is not committed to this, and hence the charge of incoherence is misplaced. Indeed, van Fraassen is correct on this point. However, he is wrong to think that acceptance requires a high subjective probability that the theory is empirically adequate; and his reason for thinking that science aims at empirical adequacy rather than truth rests on an overly crude theory of rational choice.
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