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Bas C. van Fraassen [143]Bas C. van Fraassen [3]
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Profile: Bas C. van Fraassen (San Francisco State University)
  1. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1980). The Scientific Image. Oxford University Press.
    In this book van Fraassen develops an alternative to scientific realism by constructing and evaluating three mutually reinforcing theories.
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  2.  33
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2010). Belief and the Will. In Antony Eagle (ed.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge 235-256.
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  3. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1989). Laws and Symmetry. Oxford University Press.
    Metaphysicians speak of laws of nature in terms of necessity and universality; scientists, in terms of symmetry and invariance. In this book van Fraassen argues that no metaphysical account of laws can succeed. He analyzes and rejects the arguments that there are laws of nature, or that we must believe there are, and argues that we should disregard the idea of law as an adequate clue to science. After exploring what this means for general epistemology, the author develops the empiricist (...)
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  4. Bas C. Van Fraassen (2006). Structure: Its Substance and Shadow. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):275.
    On December 9, 1908 Max Planck addressed the Student Corps of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Leiden. His announced topic was _ The Unity of the Physical World-Picture _, but the real intent was a polemic against a whole bevy of famous scientists who had turned against realism in the past fifty years. The debate concerning how science represents nature, and specifically whether it represents more than solely structural aspects of the phenomena, had begun earlier in (...)
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  5. Bas C. Van Fraassen (2008). Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford University Press.
  6.  34
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2002). The Empirical Stance. Yale University Press.
    What is empiricism and what could it be? Bas C. van Fraassen, one of the world's foremost contributors to philosophical logic and the philosophy of science, here undertakes a fresh consideration of these questions and offers a program for renewal of the empiricist tradition. The empiricist tradition is not and could not be defined by common doctrines but embodies a certain stance in philosophy, van Fraassen says. This stance is displayed first of all in a searing recurrent critique of metaphysics, (...)
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  7. Bas C. van Fraassen (2006). Structure: Its Shadow and Substance. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):275-307.
    Structural realism as developed by John Worrall and others can claim philosophical roots as far back as the late 19th century, though the discussion at that time does not unambiguously favor the contemporary form, or even its realism. After a critical examination of some aspects of the historical background some severe critical challenges to both Worrall's and Ladyman's versions are highlighted, and an alternative empiricist structuralism proposed. Support for this empiricist version is provided in part by the different way in (...)
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  8. Bas C. van Fraassen (1995). Belief and the Problem of Ulysses and the Sirens. Philosophical Studies 77 (1):7-37.
    This is surely a bit of Socrates' famous irony. He draws the analogy to explain how his friends should regard poetry as they regretfully banish it from the ideal state. But lovers were no more sensible then than they are now. The advice to banish poetry, undermined already by Plato's own delight and skill in drama, is perhaps undermined still further by this evocation of a 'sensible' lover who counts love so well lost. Yet Socrates' image is one of avowed (...)
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  9.  73
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (2014). One or Two Gentle Remarks About Hans Halvorson's Critique of the Semantic View. Philosophy of Science 81 (2):276-283,.
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  10.  81
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2009). The Perils of Perrin, in the Hands of Philosophers. Philosophical Studies 143 (1):5 - 24.
    The story of how Perrin’s experimental work established the reality of atoms and molecules has been a staple in (realist) philosophy of science writings (Wesley Salmon, Clark Glymour, Peter Achinstein, Penelope Maddy, …). I’ll argue that how this story is told distorts both what the work was and its significance, and draw morals for the understanding of how theories can be or fail to be empirically grounded.
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  11.  47
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1991). Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View. Oxford University Press.
    After introducing the empiricist point of view in philosophy of science, and the concepts and methods of the semantic approach to scientific theories, van Fraassen discusses quantum theory in three stages. He first examines the question of whether and how empirical phenomena require a non-classical theory, and what sort of theory they require. He then discusses the mathematical foundations of quantum theory with special reference to developments in the modelling of interaction, composite systems, and measurement. Finally, the author broaches the (...)
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  12. Bas C. van Fraassen (2006). Representation: The Problem for Structuralism. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):536-547.
    What does it mean to embed the phenomena in an abstract structure? Or to represent them by doing so? The semantic view of theories runs into a severe problem if these notions are construed either naively, in a metaphysical way, or too closely on the pattern of the earlier syntactic view. Constructive empiricism and structural realism will then share those difficulties. The problem will be posed as in Reichenbach's The Theory of Relativity and A Priori Knowledge, and realist reactions will (...)
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  13. Bas C. van Fraassen (1966). Singular Terms, Truth-Value Gaps, and Free Logic. Journal of Philosophy 63 (17):481-495.
  14. Bas C. van Fraassen (2001). Constructive Empiricism Now. Philosophical Studies 106 (1-2):151 - 170.
    Constructive empiricism, the view introduced in The Scientific Image, is a view of science, an answer to the question "what is science?" Arthur Fine's and Paul Teller's contributions to this symposium challenge especially two key ideas required to formulate that view, namely the observable/unobservable and acceptance/belief distinctions. I wish to thank them not only for their insightful critique but also for the support they include. For they illuminate and counter some misunderstandings of Constructive Empiricism along the way. That leaves me (...)
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  15. Bradley Monton & Bas C. van Fraassen (2003). Constructive Empiricism and Modal Nominalism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):405-422.
    James Ladyman has argued that constructive empiricism entails modal realism, and that this renders constructive empiricism untenable. We maintain that constructive empiricism is compatible with modal nominalism. Although the central term ‘observable’ has been analyzed in terms of counterfactuals, and in general counterfactuals do not have objective truth conditions, the property of being observable is not a modal property, and hence there are objective, non-modal facts about what is observable. Both modal nominalism and constructive empiricism require clarification in the face (...)
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  16. Bas C. van Fraassen (1999). Conditionalization, a New Argument For. Topoi 18 (2):93-96.
    Probabilism in epistemology does not have to be of the Bayesian variety. The probabilist represents a person''s opinion as a probability function; the Bayesian adds that rational change of opinion must take the form of conditionalizing on new evidence. I will argue that this is the correct procedure under certain special conditions. Those special conditions are important, and instantiated for example in scientific experimentation, but hardly universal. My argument will be related to the much maligned Reflection Principle (van Fraassen, 1984, (...)
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  17.  28
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2004). Replies to Discussion on the Empirical Stance. Philosophical Studies 121 (2).
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  18.  46
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1995). Fine-Grained Opinion, Probability, and the Logic of Full Belief. Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (4):349-377.
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  19. Bas C. van Fraassen (2011). On Stance and Rationality. Synthese 178 (1):155-169.
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  20. Bas C. van Fraassen (1995). `World' is Not a Count Noun. Noûs 29 (2):139-157.
    The word "world" has in fact many ordinary uses as a count noun; I shall discuss some of them below.(2) There is however also a distinctive philosophical use found in recent ontology (in the sense in which Quine reintroduced this term in analytic philosophy, for theories about what there is). As to this philosophical use, I shall argue that there is no reason to think that it refers to anything, if indeed it is intelligible at all.
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  21.  66
    Bas C. van Fraassen & Isabelle Peschard (2008). Identity Over Time: Objectively, Subjectively. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):15-35.
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  22. Bas C. Van Fraassen (2010). Rovelli's World. Foundations of Physics 40 (4):390-417.
    Carlo Rovelli’s inspiring “Relational Quantum Mechanics” serves several aims at once: it provides a new vision of what the world of quantum mechanics is like, and it offers a program to derive the theory’s formalism from a set of simple postulates pertaining to information processing. I propose here to concentrate entirely on the former, to explore the world of quantum mechanics as Rovelli depicts it. It is a fascinating world in part because of Rovelli’s reliance on the information-theory approach to (...)
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  23.  90
    Bas C. van Fraassen (1968). Presupposition, Implication, and Self-Reference. Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):136-152.
  24. Bas C. Van Fraassen (2011). Logic and the Self: After Certain Crises in Western Thought. Diogenes 58 (4):21-29.
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  25.  22
    Bas C. van Fraassen (1970). On the Extension of Beth's Semantics of Physical Theories. Philosophy of Science 37 (3):325-339.
    A basic aim of E. Beth's work in philosophy of science was to explore the use of formal semantic methods in the analysis of physical theories. We hope to show that a general framework for Beth's semantic analysis is provided by the theory of semi-interpreted languages, introduced in a previous paper. After developing Beth's analysis of nonrelativistic physical theories in a more general form, we turn to the notion of the 'logic' of a physical theory. Here we prove a result (...)
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  26.  90
    Bas C. van Fraassen (1993). Armstrong, Cartwright, and Earman on Laws and Symmetry. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (2):431--44.
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  27.  62
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2012). Modeling and Measurement: The Criterion of Empirical Grounding. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):773-784.
  28.  56
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1977). The Pragmatics of Explanation. American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (2):143-150.
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  29.  59
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1973). Values and the Heart's Command. Journal of Philosophy 70 (1):5-19.
  30.  36
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (2004). Précis of the Empirical Stance. Philosophical Studies 121 (2):127-132.
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  31. Bas C. van Fraassen, Against Transcendental Empiricism.
    What is empiricism? There can be no authoritative answer to any such question. A historian of philosophy can at best try to call what is common to philosophers who either identified themselves, or have traditionally been identified, as empiricists. But what has set those philosophers apart from others, and especially from those whom they criticized, may not be captured in common views or doctrines. The historian may, in trying to fix the label, rely tacitly on a view of what philosophical (...)
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  32.  11
    Bas C. Van Fraassen & Joseph Y. Halpern (forthcoming). Updating Probability: Tracking Statistics as Criterion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv027.
    For changing opinion, represented by an assignment of probabilities to propositions, the criterion proposed is motivated by the requirement that the assignment should have, and maintain, the possibility of matching in some appropriate sense statistical proportions in a population. This ‘tracking’ criterion implies limitations on policies for updating in response to a wide range of types of new input. Satisfying the criterion is shown equivalent to the principle that the prior must be a convex combination of the possible posteriors. Furthermore, (...)
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  33. Bas C. van Fraassen, The World of Empiricism.
    Bas C. van Fraassen                          Princeton University       My topics today are the relation between science and myth, and the possibility of empiricism as an approach to life as well as to science. But philosophy is a thoroughly historical enterprise, a dialogue that continues in the present but is always almost entirely (...)
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  34. Bas C. van Fraassen (2010). Reply to Contessa, Ghins, and Healey. Analysis 70 (3):547-556.
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  35. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1976). To Save the Phenomena. Journal of Philosophy 73 (18):623-632.
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  36.  94
    Bas C. van Fraassen (1998). The Agnostic Subtly Probabilified. Analysis 58 (3):212–220.
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  37. Bas C. van Fraassen (1997). Putnam's Paradox: Metaphysical Realism Revamped and Evaded. Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):17-42.
    Hilary Putnam's argument against metaphysical realism (commonly referred to as the "model theoretic argument") has now enjoyed two decades of discussion.(1) The text is rich and contains variously construable arguments against variously construed philosophical positions. David Lewis isolated one argument and called it "Putnam's Paradox".(2) That argument is clear and concise; so is the paradoxical conclusion it purports to demonstrate; and so is Lewis' paradox-avoiding solution. His solution involves a position I call "anti-nominalism": not only are classes real, but they (...)
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  38.  63
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1969). Facts and Tautological Entailments. Journal of Philosophy 66 (15):477-487.
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  39. Bas C. van Fraassen (1992). From Vicious Circle to Infinite Regress, and Back Again. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:6-29.
    The attempt to formulate a viable empiricist and non-foundationalist epistemology of science faces four problems here confronted. The first is an apparent loss of objectivity in science, in the conditions of use of models in applied science. The second derives from the theory-infection of scientific language, with an apparent loss of objective conditions of truth and reference. The third, often cited as objection to The Scientific Image, is the apparent theory-dependence of the distinction between what is and is not observable. (...)
     
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  40.  39
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2004). Science as Representation: Flouting the Criteria. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):794-804.
    Criteria of adequacy for scientific representation of the phenomena pertain to accuracy and truth. But that representation is selective and may require distortion even in the selected parameters; this point is intimately connected with the fact that representation is intentional, and its adequacy relative to its particular purpose. Since observation and measurement are perspectival and the appearances to be saved are perspectival measurement outcomes, the question whether this “saving” is an explanatory relation provides a new focus for the realist/antirealist debate. (...)
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  41.  25
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1981). A Problem for Relative Information Minimizers in Probability Kinematics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (4):375-379.
  42.  8
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1976). Representational of Conditional Probabilities. Journal of Philosophical Logic 5 (3):417-430.
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  43.  6
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (1972). The Logic of Conditional Obligation. Journal of Philosophical Logic 1 (3/4):417.
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  44.  91
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2007). Scientific Structuralism: Structuralism(s) About Science: Some Common Problems. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):45–61.
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  45.  19
    Bas C. Van Fraassen (2006). Vague Expectation Value Loss. Philosophical Studies 127 (3):483 - 491.
    Vague subjective probability may be modeled by means of a set of probability functions, so that the represented opinion has only a lower and upper bound. The standard rule of conditionalization can be straightforwardly adapted to this. But this combination has difficulties which, though well known in the technical literature, have not been given sufficient attention in probabilist or Bayesian epistemology. Specifically, updating on apparently irrelevant bits of news can be destructive of one’s explicitly prior expectations. Stability of vague subjective (...)
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  46. Bas C. van Fraassen (2003). On McMullin's Appreciation of Realism Concerning the Sciences. Philosophy of Science 70 (3):479-492.
    Constructive empiricism is indeed set squarely within a common sense realism that was foreign to much of the empiricist tradition. But I do not see this common sense realism, which I take myself to share with many scientific realists, as harboring or leading to scientific realism. That is in part because of the way I separate the opposition between empiricist and realist understanding of science from other issues that divide us in epistemology. This discussion brought to light our quite different (...)
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  47. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1962). Capek on Eternal Recurrence. Journal of Philosophy 59 (14):371-375.
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  48.  86
    Bas C. van Fraassen (2013). Scientific Realism and the Empiricist Challenge: An Introduction to Ernan McMullin's Aquinas Lecture. Zygon 48 (1):131-142.
    In The Inference That Makes Science, Ernan McMullin recounts the clear historical progress he saw toward a vision of the sciences as conclusions reached rationally on the basis of empirical evidence. Distinctive of this vision was his view of science as driven by a specific form of inference, retroduction. To understand this properly, we need to disentangle the description of retroductive inference from the claims made on its behalf. To end I will suggest that the real rival to McMullin's vision (...)
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  49. Bas C. van Fraassen (2003). On McMullin's Appreciation of Realism Concerning the Sciences. Philosophy of Science 70 (3):479-492.
    Constructive empiricism is indeed set squarely within a common sense realism that was foreign to much of the empiricist tradition. But I do not see this common sense realism, which I take myself to share with many scientific realists, as harboring or leading to scientific realism. That is in part because of the way I separate the opposition between empiricist and realist understanding of science from other issues that divide us in epistemology. This discussion brought to light our quite different (...)
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  50.  62
    Bas C. van Fraassen (1977). The Only Necessity is Verbal Necessity. Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):71-85.
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