David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (1):57 – 75 (2000)
This paper aims to defend scientific realism against two versions of agnostic empiricism: a naive agnostic position, which suggests that the only rational option is to remain agnostic as to the truth of theoretical assertions, and van Fraassen's more sophisticated agnostic empiricism - which may be called "Hypercritical Empiricism". It first argues that given semantic realism, naive agnostic empiricism cannot be maintained: there is no relevant epistemic difference between theoretical assertions and observational ones. It then focuses on van Fraassen's more sophisticated alternative to scientific realism and suggests that an attitude towards science which involves less than aiming at theoretical truth and believing in theories would be, in some concrete respect that empiricists should recognize, worse off than the recommended realist attitude. To this end, the paper develops the so-called conjunction argument into a diachronic argument for scientific realism.
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References found in this work BETA
Larry Laudan (1996). Beyond Positivism and Relativism: Theory, Method, and Evidence. Westview Press.
Gideon Rosen (1994). What is Constructive Empiricism? Philosophical Studies 74 (2):143 - 178.
Stathis Psillos (1996). On Van Fraassen's Critique of Abductive Reasoning. Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):31-47.
P. M. Churchland & C. A. Hooker (eds.) (1985). Images of Science: Essays on Realism and Empiricism. University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Shelby D. Hunt (2011). Theory Status, Inductive Realism, and Approximate Truth: No Miracles, No Charades. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):159 - 178.
Robert W. P. Luk (2010). Understanding Scientific Study Via Process Modeling. Foundations of Science 15 (1):49-78.
Uskali Mäki (2005). Reglobalizing Realism by Going Local, or (How) Should Our Formulations of Scientific Realism Be Informed About the Sciences? Erkenntnis 63 (2):231 - 251.
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Stathis Psillos (2012). One Cannot Be Just a Little Bit Realist: Putnam and van Fraassen. In James R. Brown (ed.), Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers. Continuum Books 188.
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.
Nicholas Maxwell (1993). Induction and Scientific Realism: Einstein Versus Van Fraassen: Part Two: Aim-Oriented Empiricism and Scientific Essentialism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (1):81-101.
P. D. Magnus (2003). Success, Truth and the Galilean Strategy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):465-474.
Igor Douven (1996). A Paradox for Empiricism (?). Philosophy of Science 63 (3):297.
Stathis Psillos (2001). Studies in Scientific Realism. Foundations of Chemistry 3 (1):79-86.
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