The Dutch biologist C J. van der Klaauw (1893–1972) structuralized the epistemology of oecology using concepts which exceeded the limits of a strictly teleological interpretation of nature. This article relates to his theory of holistic oecology which van der Klaauw formulated departing from a critical confrontation with Kant's teleological view on nature. He substituted this extra-scientifically heuristic maxim by the holistic notion of network-like associations between organisms within a community. The analogous similarities between the organization of individual organisms and communities (...) drawn up by van der Klaauw, merely remained propaedeutics for a genuine holistic oecology, which would only employ epistemological principles specifically referring to the organization of supra-individual communities of organisms. This article discusses the process of structuralizing the theory of holistic oecology by van der Klaauw in his dialogue with Kantian philosophy. (shrink)
Notwithstanding the general rise of experimental disciplines in biology in the first decades of our century, in Germany and in the Netherlands the interest in the idealistic morphological tradition flourished, and compensated for a reductionistic causal approach to natural phenomena. This article analyses the influence of the German idealistic morphologists W. Lubosch and A. Meyer on the development of C.J. van der Klaauw's epistemology. It discusses the gradual incorporation of non-causal principles into van der Klaauw's concept of biology. Van der (...) Klaauw's epistemological concept of holistic biology was shaped in a critical confrontation with German idealistic morphology, and his early considerations can be interpreted as a direct impulse towards the development of his theory of functional components. Van der Klaauw's theories, being an alternative to the reductionistic experimental sciences, were among the causes of the fact that in the first half of our century biology in the Netherlands took a course deviating from the development of biology in the Anglo-American countries. (shrink)
Van der Klaauw was a professor of Descriptive Zoology in the period 1934–1958.This paper presents a concise annotated overview of his publications. In his work three main topics can be recognized: comparative anatomy of the mammalian auditory region, theoretical studies about ecology and ecological morphology, and vertebrate functional morphology. In particular van der Klaauw developed new concepts on functional morphology, based upon a holistic approach. A series of studies in functional morphology of Vertebrates by his students is added. An overview (...) of recent morphological and theoretical studies show that this new approach had a long lasting impact in studies of functional morphology. (shrink)
De acordo com a concepção dominante de causação, eventos espácio-temporalmente localizáveis que podem ser designados por termos singulares e descrições definidas são os únicos relata genuínos da relação causal. Isto dá apoio e é apoiado pela dicotomia aceita entre a explicação causal, concebida como uma relação intensional entre fatos ou verdades, e a relação natural e extensional da causação. O ensaio questiona este modo de ver e argumenta pela legitimidade da noção de causação por fatos: os relata de muitas relações (...) expressas pelo conector sentencial ‘(O fato) C causa (o fato) E’ podem ser causas e efeitos genuínos (I). Esta visão expandida da causação é então aplicada ao problema da causação mental. Assumindo a verdade do realizacionismo físico, o ensaio explora a conexão entre eficácia causal e relevância contrafactual de propriedades. Mostra-se que, pelo menos em muitos casos, as ligações contrafactuais corretas, requeridas pela causação, podem ser encontradas somente no nível dos fatos realizados, não no nível mais básico dos fatos realizadores (II). Finalmente, dadas as similaridades entre a defesa do fisicismo não-reducionista esboçada aqui e as tentativas menos modestas de justificação científica das pretensões do materialismo metafísico, justamente criticadas por van Fraassen como manifestações da ‘falsa consciência’, considera-se se e como a argumento principal do ensaio pode evitar o juízo crítico de van Fraassen (III). (shrink)
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...) 4, I analyse van Fraassen’s voluntarism. I raise some objections about van Fraassen’s reliance on prior opinion and argue that the content of a belief matters to its rationality. In section 5, I criticise van Fraassen’s view that inference to the best explanation is incoherent. Finally, in section 6, I take on van Fraassen’s conception of rationality and show that it is too thin to fully capture rational judgement. (shrink)
Bas C. van Fraassen Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Princeton UniversityÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â 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.Â But philosophy is a thoroughly historical enterprise, a dialogue that continues in the present but is always almost entirely (...) shaped by our past.Â So I will devote the first half of this talk to setting the historical stage. (shrink)
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.
Hilary Putnam and Bas C. van Fraassen have been two pivotal figures in the scientific realism debate in the second half of the twentieth century. Their initial perspectives were antithetical—defining an archetypical scientific realist position (Putnam) and a major empiricism-inspired alternative to scientific realism (van Fraassen). But as the years (and the philosophical debates) went on, there have been important lines of convergence in the stances of these two thinkers, mostly motivated by an increasing flirting with pragmatism and by a (...) growing disdain towards metaphysics. Putnam’s views went through two major turns, in a philosophical journey he aptly described as taking him “from realism back to realism” (1994, 494). Being an arch scientific realist in the 1960s and the early 1970s, he moved to a trenchant critique of metaphysical realism and the adoption of a verificationist-‘internalist’ approach (what he called pragmatic or internal realism), which he upheld roughly until the end of the twentieth century. Then he adopted a direct realist outlook, what he called “common sense” or “natural realism”, which was based on the denial of at least some of the tenets of his internalist period (e.g., the abandonment of a verificationist conception of truth), while at the same time tried to avoid “the phantasies of metaphysical realism”. It is (almost) impossible to cover all aspects of Putnam’s realist endeavours. I will therefore focus on his changing views about scientific realism. Van Fraassen occupied a space in the scientific realism debate that was left vacant by Putnam’s critique of fictionalism and verificationism, viz., an agnostic stance towards the ontological commitments of literally understood scientific theories. His positive alternative to realism, Constructive Empiricism (CE), was meant to be a position suitable for post-positivist empiricists, that is philosophers who a) take for granted the empiricist dictum that all (substantive) knowledge stems from experience; b) take science seriously (but not uncritically) as the paradigm of rational inquiry; and c) take to heart all criticism of the positivist approach to science, bound as it was to issues concerning the language of theories and the privileging of an alleged theory-neutral observational vocabulary.. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of ‘naïve’ or (...) dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
I think that van Inwagen's argument is invalid because it equivocates on the modal auxiliaries. To give a quick idea of what I think has gone wrong, consider for comparison two arguments which are transparently invalid, though they superficially resemble Modus Tollens arguments: (a) If Lincoln was honest, he couldn't have pocketed the penny (such taking being dishonest). (b) But it is false that Lincoln could not have pocketed the penny: after all, he was not paralyzed and did not fail (...) to realize that the penny was (slightly) valuable and would be his for the taking. (c) Therefore, Lincoln was not honest. (a') If determinism is correct, then if various past events had occurred earlier, the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution (since doing so would be inconsistent with the behavior issuing from and predictable from those earlier events). (b') But it is false that the judge could not have raised his hand at the time of the execution: for he was not paralyzed or unconscious-- he certainly possessed the power to move his hand. (c') Therefore, since the various past events did occur earlier, determinism is not correct. (shrink)
I relate the story of how matrix mechanics grew out of the treatment of optical dispersion in the old quantum theory, paying special attention to the contributions of the American theoretical physicists John H. Van Vleck and John C. Slater. Van Vleck shares the credit with Max Born for being the first to publish a full derivation of the crucial Kramers dispersion formula using Bohr’s correspondence principle. Slater was one of the architects of the short-lived but influential Bohr-Kramers-Slater (BKS) theory (...) that helped popularize the so-called Ersatz- or virtual oscillators central both to the treatment of dispersion in the old quantum theory and to the transition to matrix mechanics. (shrink)
Scientific representation: A long journey from pragmatics to pragmatics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9465-5 Authors James Ladyman, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TB UK Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Mauricio Suárez, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Journal Metascience Online (...) ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
I present an argument that encapsulates the view that theory is underdetermined by evidence. I show that if we accept Williamson's equation of evidence and knowledge, then this argument is question-begging. I examine ways of defenders of underdetermination may avoid this criticism. I also relate this argument and my critique to van Fraassen's constructive empiricism.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
: According to a consensus of psycho-physiological and philosophical theories, color sensations (or qualia) are generated in a cerebral "space" fed from photon-photoreceptor interaction (producing "metamers") in the retina of the eye. The resulting "space" has three dimensions: hue (or chroma), saturation (or "purity"), and brightness (lightness, value or intensity) and (in some versions) is further structured by primitive or landmark "colors"—usually four, or six (when white and black are added to red, yellow, green and blue). It has also been (...) proposed that there are eleven semantic universals—labeling the previous six plus the "intermediaries" of orange, pink, brown, purple, and gray. There are many versions of this consensus, but they all aim to provide ontological, epistemological and semantic blueprints for the brute fact of the reality of color ordained by Nature (evolution). In contrast to this consensus, we have argued that "seeing color" is not a matter of light waves impacting on our eyes, producing sensations to be categorized and labeled in the "color space" in the brain. While electrochemical events may unproblematically be regarded as the causal precondition for seeing color, the reception of sensations in "the color space" as semantically labeled natural categories, kinds, or information, is a "just so" story: it is Wittgenstein's beetle in a box. In contrast we consider that the authority of this consensus might better be regarded not as the result of the truth-tracking of nature, but as the sociohistorical outcome of philosophical presuppositions, scientific theories, experimental practices, technological apparatus, and their feed forward into the lifeworld. The question we shall therefore explore is whether, or to what extent, we ourselves are changed, as the conditions of production of color science change. Thus we are doing a kind of anthropology at two levels: of color science itself (and its effect on our own lifeworld), and of those studied by the "anthropology of color". As befits this stance we are agnostic about the theoretical entities of color science (cf. van Fraassen 2001), and within this new context, we propose to cross-cut object-and-subject, organism-and-environment (the bedrock of color science) in socio-historical ways. Our approach is in part inspired by, but not the same as, that of Gibson, in that we wish to pursue the notion of "social affordances" (Burmudez 1995). We suggest that color has become a naturalization through science-based technologies, which, through praxes and materializations, have become the perceptual and cultural entities that structure experience and understanding in the lifeworld. It is this naturalization that we shall refer to and characterize as "the historically inflected exosomatic organ". Consequently we shall explore the historical ontology of "color" without assuming an underlying biological constant (Dupré 2001). In part 1 we show the flimsiness of the evidence for the three dimensions of color, borrowed from physics, and fine-tuned to a "standard observer" (a "spectral creature" with a phenomenal "color space"). In part 2 we address the structuring of hue through the development of color circles and color spaces. This is followed by a review of the evidence for unique hues. Again the evidence is shown to be flimsy. We then show that an isolated domain of color is a particular kind of model, not a "natural given". In part 3, after reviewing what is referred to as "the isomorphy thesis," we discuss the exemplary case study of Berlin and Kay (1969). This illustrates the pull of stadial models presupposed by their evolutionary theory of color language. The Berlin and Kay paradigm proposes that American English color terms are incorrigible and can provide the universal metalanguage. We conclude by presenting an alternative account, namely that we ourselves are changed as the conditions of production of color science change. We argue that it is better to regard "seeing-color" as a historically inflected exosomatic organ that provides social affordances for those trained to grasp them. (shrink)
Metaphysical inquiry often exemplifies characteristics that do not meet with approval in the estimations of empiricists. Most distasteful to them, it seems, is a perceived distance between many of the speculations of metaphysics − about things such as causation, laws of nature, and unobservable stuff more generally − and the sorts of investigations they take to constitute proper empirical inquiry. Like any over-arching movement in the history of philosophy, empiricism has recognized different interlocutors at different times, but it appears that (...) all share a fascination for this kind of speculation. In relatively recent times, the influence of logical positivism encouraged a neglect of metaphysical issues in discussions of general philosophy of science that lasted well past the demise of positivism itself. Metaphysical disputes surfaced nonetheless, of course, both there and in the philosophy of particular sciences: space and time, evolutionary biology, quantum mechanics, and so on. Among post-positivist philosophers of science, no one has done more to reformulate the challenge of empiricism to metaphysical speculation than Bas van Fraassen. My goal here is to suggest that one may accept the many gifts of his reformulation of empiricism, and yet find value in the metaphysical investigations he asks us to sacrifice in return. At first glance, the prospects for having so much cake and eating it must seem dim. Those who would offer strict constraints regarding knowledge based on experience are lined up against those who are at least partly at home in the armchairs of reason. Is there not an unbridgeable chasm, here? Perhaps there is, but things are not as simple as my caricature would suggest. For one thing, it is not entirely clear what the relevant contrasts are here between what I have labelled ‘metaphysics’ and ‘empiricism’. It is not clear, for example, what it means for some philosophical speculation to take place ‘at a distance’ from empirical inquiry.. (shrink)
David Hitchcock and Bart Verheij (eds): Arguing on the Toulmin Model. New Essays in Argument Analysis and Evaluation Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9214-y Authors Lester C. van der Pluijm, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Jacky C. Visser, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
I define serendipity as the art of making an unsought finding. And I propose an overview of my collection of serendipities, the largest yet assembled, chiefly in science and technology, but also in art, by giving a list of ‘serendipity patterns’. Although my list of ‘patterns’ is just a list and not a classification, it serves to introduce a new and possibly stimulating perspective on the old subject of serendipity. Knowledge of these ‘serendipity patterns’ might help in expecting also the (...) unexpected and in finding also the unsought. * I acknowledge A. D. de Groot, R. C. M. Noordam, B. P. van Heusden, T. Pinkster, C. J. van den Berg, T. A. F. Kuipers, A. Wegener Sleeswijk and my referee for their suggestions and I dedicate this article to T. A. van Kooten. Cases and studies of serendipidy are welcome. À propos: a travelling serendipity exhibition is available, also for ‘new democracies’: ‘Freedom of opportunity as developed by democracy is the best human reaction to divergent phenomena. We may, in fact, define ‘freedom’ as ‘the opportunity to profit from the unexpected.’ (Langmuir ). (shrink)