Stance, feeling and phenomenology

Synthese 178 (1):121 - 130 (2011)
This paper addresses Bas van Fraassen's claim that empiricism is a ' stance'. I begin by distinguishing two different kinds of stance: an explicit epistemic policy and an implicit way of ' finding oneself in a world'. At least some of van Fraassen's claims, I suggest, refer to the latter. In explicating his ordinarily implicit ' empirical stance', he assumes the stance of the phenomenologist, describing the structure of his commitment to empiricism without committing to it in the process. This latter stance does not incorporate the attitude that van Fraassen takes to be characteristic of empiricism. Thus its possibility serves to illustrate that empiricism as an all-encompassing philosophical orientation is untenable. I conclude by discussing the part played by feelings in philosophical stances and propose that they contribute to philosophical conviction, commitment and critique.
Keywords Empiricism  Feeling  Phenomenology  Rationality  Stance
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