David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):61-99 (2005)
In the spirit of B. C. van Fraassen's view of science called Constructive Empiricism, we propose a scientific criterion to decide whether a concrete object is observable, as well as a coextensive scientific-philosophical definition of observability, and we sketch a rigorous account of modal language occurring in science. We claim that our account of observability solves three problems to which current accounts of observability, notably van Fraassen's own accounts, give rise. We further claim that our account of modal propositions (subjunctive conditionals included), which proceeds wholly within the framework of the semantic view on scientific theories, grounds his claim that such an account is possible without relying on ‘inflationary metaphysics’, notably without postulating an infinitude of different universes besides the universe we inhabit. We thus claim to solve a fourth problem: how to give a precise nominalist account of modal language in science tailor-made for Constructive Empiricism. Introduction: Rough Guides The semantic view and the wave theory of light A scientific guide and a scientific criterion A New Rough Guide and a definition The Context Problem and Psillos' Problem Musgrave's Problem Modality without inflationary metaphysics Exitum.
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F. A. Muller & B. C. van Fraassen (2008). How to Talk About Unobservables. Analysis 68 (299):197–205.
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