David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Inquiry 52 (1):1 – 25 (2009)
This paper develops a phenomenological defense of Ian Hacking's experimental realism about unobservable entities in physical science, employing historically undervalued resources from the phenomenological tradition in order to clarify the warrant for our ontological commitments in science. Building upon the work of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Heelan, the paper provides a phenomenological correction of the positivistic conception of perceptual evidence maintained by antirealists such as van Fraassen, the experimental relevance of which is illustrated through a phenomenological interpretation of the 1974 discovery of the J/ ψ particle generally regarded as evidence for the charmed quark. The argument then turns to address known problems in Hacking's account, demonstrating that his own instrumentalist criterion of the real is inadequately rooted in the phenomenology of perception, and as a result, passes over the true ontological significance of experimental phenomena. The paper maintains that the proper criterion, only indirectly related to instrumentality, is the distinctive style of the real encountered in perception: empirical pregnancy. With this notion and Merleau-Ponty's associated reversibility thesis, I show that the phenomenological tradition provides insights into the warrant for our realist commitments that have yet to be adequately acknowledged by philosophers of science.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Alva Noë (2005). Action in Perception. The MIT Press.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1996/2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Ian Hacking (1983). Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1968). The Visible and the Invisible. Northwestern University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Harald A. Wiltsche (2012). What is Wrong with Husserl's Scientific Anti-Realism? Inquiry 55 (2):105-130.
Panos Theodorou (2012). Cognitive Existentialism, Phenomenology, and Philosophy of Science: Stimulating the Dialogue. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (3):335-343.
Similar books and articles
Mauricio Suarez, Experimental Realism Defended: How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound.
Alan G. Gross (1990). Reinventing Certainty: The Significance of Ian Hacking's Realism. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:421 - 431.
Sara Heinämaa (1999). Merleau-Ponty's Modification of Phenomenology: Cognition, Passion and Philosophy. Synthese 118 (1):49-68.
Mauricio Suárez, Experimental Realism Defended : How Inference to the Most Likely Cause Might Be Sound.
Patrick Joseph McDonald (2003). Demonstration by Simulation: The Philosophical Significance of Experiment in Helmholtz's Theory of Perception. Perspectives on Science 11 (2):170-207.
Richard Reiner & Robert Pierson (1995). Hacking's Experimental Realism: An Untenable Middle Ground. Philosophy of Science 62 (1):60-69.
Beata Stawarska (2009). Merleau-Ponty and Sartre in Response to Cognitive Studies of Facial Imitation. Philosophy Compass 4 (2):312-328.
Shaun Gallagher & Jesper B. Sorensen (2006). Experimenting with Phenomenology. Consciousness and Cognition 15 (1):119-134.
Michelle Sandell (2010). Astronomy and Experimentation. Techne 14 (3):252-269.
Shannon Vallor (2009). The Fantasy of Third-Person Science: Phenomenology, Ontology and Evidence. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):1-15.
Added to index2009-02-22
Total downloads110 ( #29,335 of 1,777,882 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #169,156 of 1,777,882 )
How can I increase my downloads?