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Constructive Empiricism
  1. Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories.Sebastian Lutz - forthcoming - In Sebastian Lutz & Adam Tamas Tuboly (eds.), Logical Empiricism and the Physical Sciences: From Philosophy of Nature to Philosophy of Physics. New York, USA: Routledge.
    The received view on the development of the correspondence rules in Carnap’s philosophy of science is that at first, Carnap assumed the explicit definability of all theoretical terms in observational terms and later weakened this assumption. In the end, he conjectured that all observational terms can be explicitly defined in in theoretical terms, but not vice versa. I argue that from the very beginning, Carnap implicitly held this last view, albeit at times in contradiction to his professed position. To establish (...)
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  2. Resenha do livro "Variational Approach to Gravity Field Theories - From Newton to Einstein and Beyond".Alessio Gava - 2020 - Revista Brasileira de Ensino de Física 42.
    This is a critical review of the book Variational Approach to Gravity Field Theories - From Newton to Einstein and Beyond (2017), written by the Italian astrophysicist Alberto Vecchiato. In his work, Vecchiato shows that physics, as we know it, can be built up from simple mathematical models that become more complex step by step by gradually introducing new principles. The reader is invited to follow the steps that lead from classical physics to relativity and to understand how this happens (...)
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  3. Concluding Unscientific Image.Hans Halvorson - 2020 - Metascience (2):1-9.
    40-year anniversary review of van Fraassen's Scientific Image.
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  4. How to Save van Fraassen’s Own Antirealism: A Modest Proposal.Alessio Gava - 2020 - Perspectiva Filosófica 45 (1):1-21.
    Bas van Fraassen’s antirealist view of science and its aim, constructive empiricism, notoriously rests upon a distinction between observable and unobservable entities. In order to back his empiricist stance, the Dutch philosopher put forward his own characterization of observability. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that the point of constructive empiricism is not lost if the line is drawn in a somewhat different way from how he draws it. This means that other characterizations of observability can support this antirealist stance, provided they allow (...)
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  5. Replies to Healey’s Comments Regarding van Fraassen’s Positions.Seungbae Park - 2020 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (1):38-47.
    Healey (2019a) makes four comments on my (Park, 2019a) objections to van Fraassen’s positions. The four comments concern the issues of whether ‘disbelief’ is appropriate or inappropriate to characterize van Fraassen’s position, what the relationship between a theory and models is for van Fraassen, whether he believes or not that a theory is empirically adequate, and whether destructive empiricism is tenable or not. I reply to those comments in this paper.
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  6. Still Resisting: Replies to My Critics.K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Metascience 29:33-40.
    This is a reply piece to a series of book symposium contributions to my book, Resisting Scientific Realism. The contributions were by Steven French, Peter Vickers, Stathis Psillos, and Kyle Stanford.
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  7. Still Resisting: Replies to My Critics: K. Brad Wray: Resisting Scientific Realism, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 224 Pp., $105 HB. [REVIEW]K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Metascience 29 (1):33-40.
  8. Kusch and van Fraassen on Microscopic Experience.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 45 (1):7-31.
    Martin Kusch has recently defended Bas van Fraassen’s controversial view on microscopes, according to which these devices are not ‘windows on an invisible world’, but rather ‘image generators’. The two authors also claim that, since in a microscopic detection it is not possible to empirically investigate the geometrical relations between all the elements involved, one is entitled to maintain an agnostic stance about the reality of the entity allegedly represented by the produced image. In this paper I argue that, contrary (...)
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  9. Constructive Empiricism in a Social World: Reply to Richard Healey.Seungbae Park - 2019 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
    Constructive empiricism implies that if van Fraassen does not believe that scientific theories and his positive philosophical theories, including his contextual theory of explanation, are empirically adequate, he cannot accept them, and hence he cannot use them for scientific and philosophical purposes. Moreover, his epistemic colleagues, who embrace epistemic reciprocalism, would not believe that his positive philosophical theories are empirically adequate. This epistemic disadvantage comes with practical disadvantages in a social world.
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  10. Van Fraassen, a inferência da melhor explicação e a Matrix realista.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Problemata 10 (1):267-283.
    In a recent work published in this journal, “Van Fraassen e a inferência da melhor explicação” (2016), Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva identify four critical lines proposed by Bas van Fraassen against the form of abductive reasoning known as ‘inference to the best explanation’ (IBE). The first one, put forward by the Dutch philosopher in his seminal book The Scientific Image (1980), concerns the distinction between observable and unobservable entities. Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva consider that the distinction is of (...)
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  11. A Modest Refutation of Manifestationalism.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Universitas Philosophica 36 (73):259-287.
    In their recent “A modest defense of manifestationalism” (2015), Asay and Bordner defend this position from a quite famous criticism put forward by Rosen (1994), according to which while manifestationalism can be seen as more compatible with the letter of empiricism than other popular stances, such as constructive empiricism, it fails nonetheless to make sense of science. The two authors reckon that Rosen’s argument is actually flawed. In their view, manifestationalism could in fact represent a legitimate thesis about the nature (...)
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  12. Astroparticle Physics, a Constructive Empiricist Account.Alessio Gava - 2019 - Science and Philosophy 7 (1):21-40.
    Astroparticle physics is an interdisciplinary field embracing astronomy, astrophysics and particle physics. In a recent paper on this topic, Brigitte Falkenburg defended that only scientific realism can make sense of it and that realist beliefs constitute an indispensable methodological principle of research in this discipline. The aim of this work is to show that there exists an anti-realist alternative to this account, along the lines of what Bas van Fraassen showed in his famous book The Scientific Image. Problems and results (...)
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  13. Generalizing Empirical Adequacy II: Partial Structures.Sebastian Lutz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    I show that extant attempts to capture and generalize empirical adequacy in terms of partial structures fail. Indeed, the motivations for the generalizations in the partial structures approach are better met by the generalizations via approximation sets developed in “Generalizing Empirical Adequacy I”. Approximation sets also generalize partial structures.
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  14. Bastiaan C. Van Fraassen - Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.Bradley Monton - 2018 - Humana Mente 4 (13).
    This is a review of van Fraassen's new book, _Scientific Representation_.
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  15. O empirismo construtivo e o argumento de Musgrave: um problema ou um pseudoproblema?Alessio Gava - 2018 - Trans/Form/Ação 41 (4):177-204.
    In 1985, Alan Musgrave raised a serious objection against the possibility that a constructive empiricist could coherently draw the distinction between observables and unobservables. In his brief response in the same year, Bas van Fraassen claimed that Musgrave’s argument only works within the so-called ‘syntactic view’ of theories, while it loses its force in the context of the ‘semantic view’. But this response was not adequate, or so claimed F. A. Muller, who published two articles in order to extend the (...)
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  16. É possível ver imagens? (Ou do porquê van Fraassen deveria rever a sua abordagem em relação a elas).Alessio Gava - 2018 - Griot 18 (2):143-160.
    In his last book (2008), Bas van Fraassen, the originator of constructive empiricism, put forward a table containing a categorization of images. His aim, however, was to discuss the reality of what they represent and not addressing the issue of images per se. One of the consequences is that it remained an open question what ‘public hallucinations’ - reflections in the water, rainbows and the like - are. In this paper it will be defended that only images in the relevant (...)
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  17. Resisting Scientific Realism.K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    In this book K. Brad Wray provides a comprehensive survey of the arguments against scientific realism. In addition to presenting logical considerations that undermine the realists' inferences to the likely truth or approximate truth of our theories, he provides a thorough assessment of the evidence from the history of science. He also examines grounds for a defence of anti-realism, including an anti-realist explanation for the success of our current theories, an account of why false theories can be empirically successful, and (...)
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  18. How Theoretical Physics Makes Progress: Nicholas Maxwell: Understanding Scientific Progress: Aim-Oriented Empiricism. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2017, 232 Pp, $24.95PB. [REVIEW]Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Metascience 27 (2):203-207.
  19. The “Positive Argument” for Constructive Empiricism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):461–466.
    In this paper, I argue that the “positive argument” for Constructive Empiricism (CE), according to which CE “makes better sense of science, and of scientific activity, than realism does” (van Fraassen 1980, 73), is an Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE). But constructive empiricists are critical of IBE, and thus they have to be critical of their own “positive argument” for CE. If my argument is sound, then constructive empiricists are in the awkward position of having to reject their own (...)
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  20. Essay Review: Scientific Representation and Empiricist Structuralism*Bas C. Van Fraassen, Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press , 408 Pp., $50.00. [REVIEW]Ronald Giere - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (1):101-111.
  21. Por uma reformulação do empirismo construtivo a partir de uma reavaliação do conceito de observabilidade.Alessio Gava - 2015 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
    The concept of observability is of key importance for a consistent defense of Constructive Empiricism. This anti-realist position, originally presented in 1980 by Bas van Fraassen in his book The Scientific Image, crucially depends on the observable/unobservable dichotomy. Nevertheless, the question of what it means to observe has been faced in an unsatisfactory and inadequate manner by van Fraassen and this represents an important lacuna in his philosophical position. The aim of this work is to propose a characterization of the (...)
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  22. Why van Fraassen Should Amend His Position on Instrument-Mediated Detections.Alessio Gava - 2016 - Analysis and Metaphysics 15:55–76.
    Constructive empiricism is a prominent anti-realist position whose aim is to make sense of science. As is well known, it also crucially depends on the distinction between what is observable and what scientific theories postulate but is unobservable to us. Accordingly, adopting an adequate notion of observability is in order, on pain of failing to achieve the goal of grasping science and its aim. Bas van Fraassen, the originator of constructive empiricism, identifies observation with unaided (at least in principle) human (...)
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  23. Consequências para o empirismo construtivo da adoção de um padrão internalista na caracterização do processo de observação.Alessio Gava - 2015 - In Fátima R. Évora Marcelo Carvalho Jr (ed.), Filosofia da Ciência e da Natureza. Coleção XVI Encontro ANPOF. São Paulo, Brazil: ANPOF. pp. 239-250.
    Discutindo acerca das centenas de detecções de planetas extrassolares, que supostamente aconteceram desde 1989 e que ele considera (incorretamente) como instâncias de observações, Peter Kosso disse, justamente, que segundo os parâmetros de Bas van Fraassen esses objetos celestes seriam observáveis. Ora, tais astros poderiam sem dúvida ser observados diretamente (sem a necessidade de instrumentos), nas condições apropriadas. Mas, acrescenta Kosso, “esse tipo de epistemologia externalista, que permite que a justificação se baseie em informação que não temos a disposição (nós não (...)
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  24. Qual ontologia para o empirismo construtivo?Alessio Gava - 2014 - Princípios: Revista de Filosofia 21 (35):413-427.
    Is there an ontological question relative to van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism? It seems so, despite this philosophical position, a reference for contemporary Empiricism, presenting itself as an epistemological thesis. It is, furthermore, a very up-to-date matter, as the Dutch philosopher has recently changed his mind about the possibility for us to observe common optical phenomena as the rainbow. This reveals the necessity for a discussion about the concept of phenomena as used by van Fraassen, as Foss stated more than twenty (...)
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  25. Empirismo e observação: uma perspectiva histórica sobre a primazia da observabilidade no empirismo construtivo de van Fraassen.Alessio Gava - 2016 - Griot 13 (1):70-86.
    The emphasis on the role of observation, one of the hallmarks of Empiricism, is reaffirmed by the primacy of the distinction between observable and unobservable in Bas van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism. In this paper it will be showed that, despite being one the main topics of discussion in contemporary philosophy of science, particularly thanks to van Fraassen, the question of observation and observability is actually so old as philosophy itself and has to do with the willingness, that defines empiricism, to (...)
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  26. A não-ciência de humanóides e golfinhos: van Fraassen e o conceito de comunidade epistêmica.Alessio Gava - 2017 - Griot 15 (1):291-300.
    The notion of epistemic community is crucial for the characterization of observability, a cornerstone for Bas van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. As a matter of fact, observable is, to him, a short for observable-by-us. In this work, it will be shown that the alleged rigidity of the author of The Scientific Image, apparently not very keen to admitting changes in the epistemic community (constituted – according to him – by the human race), is actually an assumption of modesty and good judgment; (...)
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  27. A imagem reversa da observação.Alessio Gava - 2013 - Perspectiva Filosófica 1 (39):111-122.
    The problem of the justification of inductive inferences, also known as ‘Hume’s problem’, seems to have lost strength since the early 20th century, following several authors’ denial that induction is the method of science. Van Fraassen went beyond this denial and recently stated that induction does not exist. It is our aim to show that, in order to bring forward a coherent vision of science, in his reconstruction it is the observable (a crucial term for his Constructive Empiricism) that is (...)
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  28. Uma reflexão sobre o objeto de uma percepção ‘bem sucedida’.Alessio Gava - 2017 - Aufklärung 4 (3):89-100.
    Observation and observability represent a crucial topic in the philosophy of science, as the huge production of papers and books on the subject attests. Philosophy of perception, on the other hand, is a field of study that took root effectively in the last decades. Even then, apparently, the main theories on observation have neglected the issue of determining which is the object of a successful perception. As a consequence, some theses that have recently been proposed are actually paradoxical, despite deriving (...)
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  29. Somewhere Over The... What?Alessio Gava - 2016 - Filosofia Unisinos 17 (3):315-319.
    In order to defend his controversial claim that observation is unaided perception, Bas van Fraassen, the originator of constructive empiricism, suggested that, for all we know, the images produced by a microscope could be in a situation analogous to that of the rainbows, which are ‘images of nothing’. He added that reflections in the water, rainbows, and the like are ‘public hallucinations’, but it is not clear whether this constitutes an ontological category apart or an empty set. In this paper (...)
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  30. Photons and Perception.Albert Halliday - manuscript
    This short paper will argue that light waves are a barrier to visual knowledge of the objective world: that light is not transparent, in that it is a block on all possible knowledge of real objects, and that the objective world is permanently closed to the eye of the observer. (This is a shorter version of my original paper of this title.) .
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  31. Constructive Empiricism Now.van Fraassen BasC - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1-2):151-170.
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  32. Constructive Empiricism.Monton Bradley & Mohler Chad - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  33. Realismo Cient’Ifico Empirista.Sílvio Seno Chibeni - 1997 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 1 (2):255--270.
    In his influential criticism of scientific realism, Bas van Fraassen assumes that this doctrine is incompatible with empiricism, according to which the sole ultimate basis of knowledge is experience. This claim has been generally accepted in the contemporary literature in philosophy of science. Thus, the very distinction between scientific realism and empiricism is often forgotten, the term 'empiricism' being now widely used to designate a range of anti-realist positions, such as van Fraassen's "construct ive empiricism". In this paper it is (...)
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  34. Experience Becoming Fully Literate. Van Fraassen on the Verge of Constructivism.Marie I. Kaiser, Raja Rosenhagen & Christian Suhm - 2006 - In A. Berg-Hildebrandt & C. Suhm (eds.), The Philosophy of Bas C. van Fraassen. Frankfurt/Main, GER: ontos. pp. 69-79.
    The observable/unobservable distinction, realistically construed, is a feature which lies at the very heart of van Fraassen’s constructive empiricism. The aim of this paper is to approach it by taking a close look at van Fraassen’s concept of observation. We will argue that if van Fraassen’s most recent writings about “literate experience”, especially his remarks on the status of observation reports and his general a-metaphysical stance, are taken into account, his realistic interpretation of the observable/unobservable distinction paves the road for (...)
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  35. WikiSilo: A Self-Organizing, Crowd Sourcing System for Interdisciplinary Science [Supporting Paper].David Pierre Leibovitz, Robert L. West & Mike Belanger - manuscript
    WikiSilo is a tool for theorizing across interdisciplinary fields such as Cognitive Science, and provides a vocabulary for talking about the problems of doing so. It can be used to demonstrate that a particular cognitive theory is complete and coherent at multiple levels of discourse, and commensurable with and relevant to a wider domain of cognition. WikiSilo is also a minimalist theory and methodology for effectively doing science. WikiSilo is simultaneously similar to and distinct, as well as integrated and separated (...)
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  36. Reconstructed Empiricism.Finnur Dellsén - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):95-113.
    According to Bas van Fraassen, scientific realists and anti-realists disagree about whether accepting a scientific theory involves believing that the theory is true. On van Fraassen’s own anti-realist empiricist position, accepting a theory involves believing only that the theory is correct in its claims about observable aspects of the world. However, a number of philosophers have argued that acceptance and belief cannot be distinguished and thus that the debate is either confused or trivially settled in favor of the realist. In (...)
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  37. Review: Bradley Monton, (Ed.) Images of Empiricism: Essays on Science and Stances with a Reply From Bas Van Fraassen. Oxford University Press, 2007. [REVIEW]John Preston - 2009 - The European Legacy 14 (3):362-364.
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  38. May Philosophy of Science Preach Empiricism and Practice Apriorism?1.A. Wittenberg - 1962 - Dialectica 16 (1):15-24.
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  39. Discovery as Seeing: Lessons From Radical Empiricism and Meditative Practice.Kaisa Puhakka - 1992 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 12 (1):48-58.
    Suggests that genuine discovery in the context of qualitative research implies a distance between what is seen in the phenomenological sense and what has already been described. The ingenuity of William James's descriptions of hitherto undescribed aspects of everyday experience are rooted in an openness to seeing that characterizes his "radical empiricism." James was a pathfinder and explorer who did introspection and discovered the phenomena of transitive consciousness. The concepts of seeing as the mode of discovery, problematics of the intentionality (...)
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  40. Why There Are No Ready-Made Phenomena: What Philosophers of Science Should Learn From Kant: Michela Massimi.Michela Massimi - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 63:1-35.
    The debate on scientific realism has raged among philosophers of science for decades. The scientific realist's claim that science aims to give us a literally true description of the way things are, has come under severe scrutiny and attack by Bas van Fraassen's constructive empiricism. All science aims at is to save the observable phenomena, according to van Fraassen. Scientific realists have faced since a main sceptical challenge: the burden is on them to prove that the entities postulated by our (...)
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  41. Constructive Empiricism Versus Scientific Realism.Alan Musgrave - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (128):262.
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  42. Gideon Rosen on Constructive Empiricism.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 74 (2):179-192.
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  43. Constructive Empiricism Now.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1):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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  44. El Concepto de teoría empírica según van Fraassen.Ana Rosa Pérez Ransanz - 1985 - Critica 17 (51):3-19.
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  45. The Semantic View, Empirical Adequacy, and Application.Mauricio Suárez - 2005 - Critica 37 (109):29-63.
    It is widely accepted in contemporary philosophy of science that the domain of application of a theory is typically larger than its explanatory covering power: theories can be applied to phenomena that they do not explain. I argue for an analogous thesis regarding the notion of empirical adequacy. A theory's domain of application is typically larger than its domain of empirical adequacy: theories are often applied to phenomena from which they receive no empirical confirmation. \\\ Existe en la filosofía de (...)
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  46. Observation in Constructive Empiricism: Arbitrary or Incoherent?Alberto Cordero - 1989 - Critica 21 (61):75-102.
  47. Bad Lots, Good Explanations.Valeriano Iranzo - 2001 - Critica 33 (98):71-96.
    Van Fraassen's argument from the "bad lot" challenges realist interpretations of inference to the best explanation. In this paper I begin by discussing the replies suggested by S. Psillos and P. Lipton. I do not find them convincing. However, I think that van Fraassen's argument is flawed. First of all, it is a non sequitur. Secondly, I think that the real target for the scientific realist is the underlying assumption that epistemic justification results from a comparative assessment among rival explanations. (...)
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  48. The Two Antirealisms of Bas van Fraassen.Andre Kukla - 1995 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 26 (3):431-454.
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  49. Empirical Adequacy: A Partial Structures Approach.Otávio Bueno - 1997 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 28 (4):585-610.
    Based on da Costa's and French's notions of partial structures and pragmatic truth, this paper examines two possible characterizations of the concept of empirical adequacy, one depending on the notion of partial isomorphism, the other on the hierarchy of partial models of phenomena, and both compatible with an empiricist view. These formulations can then be employed to illuminate certain aspects of scientific practice.An empirical theory must single out a specific part of the world, establish reference to that part, and say—by (...)
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  50. Stance Relativism: Empiricism Versus Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Anjan Chakravartty - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):173-184.
    In The empirical stance, Bas van Fraassen argues for a reconceptualization of empiricism, and a rejection of its traditional rival, speculative metaphysics, as part of a larger and provocative study in epistemology. Central to his account is the notion of voluntarism in epistemology, and a concomitant understanding of the nature of rationality. In this paper I give a critical assessment of these ideas, with the ultimate goal of clarifying the nature of debate between metaphysicians and empiricists, and more specifically, between (...)
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