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Constructive Empiricism
  1. Induction, Rationality, and the Realism/Anti-Realism Debate: A Reply to Shech.K. Brad Wray - 2021 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (4):243-247.
    Shech offers a critical assessment of my defense of anti-realism, developed in Resisting Scientific Realism. Induction and inductive inferences play a central role in Shech’s critical analys...
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  2. Indexical Truth and Antimetaphysical Inclinations. Getting Rid of the Remnants of Realism.T. Raja Rosenhagen - 2006 - In Christian Suhm & Andreas Berg-Hildebrandt (ed.), Bas van Fraassen. The Fortunes of Empiricism. Frankfurt, Germany: pp. 81-92.
    In this paper a close look is taken at van Fraassen's use of the concept of truth. It is shown that the rather deflationist understanding of the term in his more recent publications differs considerably from the one referred to in his earlier writings, where the truth of a scientific theory is construed as its correspondence to the world. As will be argued, his more recent remarks call for a reevaluation of the difference between scientific realism and constructive empiricism and (...)
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  3. Extended Cognition and Constructive Empiricism.Kane Baker - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-14.
    According to constructive empiricists, accepting a scientific theory involves belief only that it is true of the observable world, where observability is defined in terms of what is detectable by the unaided senses. On this view, scientific instruments are machines that generate new observable data, but this data need not be interpreted as providing access to a realm of phenomena beyond what is revealed by the senses. A recent challenge to the constructive empiricist account of instruments appeals to the extended (...)
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  4. The realist and selectionist explanations for the success of science.Seungbae Park - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-12.
    According to realists, theories are successful because they are true, but according to selectionists, theories are successful because they have gone through a rigorous selection process. Wray claims that the realist and selectionist explanations are rivals to each other. Lee objects that they are instead complementary to each other. In my view, Lee’s objection presupposes that the realist explanation is true, and thus it begs the question against selectionists. By contrast, the selectionist explanation invokes a scientific theory, and thus it (...)
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  5. The Spectrum of Metametaphysics: Mapping the State of Art in Scientific Metaphysics.Jonas R. Becker Arenhart & Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo - 2021 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 66 (1):e41217.
    Scientific realism is typically associated with metaphysics. One current incarnation of such an association concerns the requirement of a metaphysical characterization of the entities one is being a realist about. This is sometimes called “Chakravartty’s Challenge”, and codifies the claim that without a metaphysical characterization, one does not have a clear picture of the realistic commitments one is engaged with. The required connection between metaphysics and science naturally raises the question of whether such a demand is appropriately fulfilled, and how (...)
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  6. A Filosofia da Ciência de Bas van Fraassen e o Seu Voluntarismo Epistêmico, de Kathleen Okruhlik.Alessio Gava - 2021 - Trans/Form/Ação 44 (4):399-416.
    This is the Portuguese translation of Kathleen Okruhlik's paper "Bas van Fraassen’s Philosophy of Science and His Epistemic Voluntarism" (2014) Bas van Fraassen’s anti-realist account of science has played a major role in shaping recent philosophy of science. His constructive empiricism, in particular, has been widely discussed and criticized in the journal literature and is a standard topic in philosophy of science course curricula. Other aspects of his empiricism are less well known, including his empiricist account of scientific laws, his (...)
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  7. Adequação empírica, linguagem e mundo em The Scientific Image.Alessio Gava - 2021 - Universitas Philosophica 38 (76):223-242.
    2020 is the year of the fortieth anniversary of Bas van Fraassen’s seminal book The Scientific Image. It is quite surprising, after such a long time, and considering how much the author’s proposal was debated during the last four decades, to find a new review of it on the March issue of Metascience. In “Concluding Unscientific Image”, Hans Halvorson claims that, in the work of the founder of constructive empiricism, not only is there a defense of an anti-realist perspective on (...)
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  8. Van Fraassen’s Best of a Bad Lot Objection, IBE and Rationality.Michael J. Shaffer - 2021 - Logique Et Analyse 255:267-273.
    Van Fraassen’s (1989) infamous best of a bad lot objection is widely taken to be the most serious problem that afflicts theories of inference to the best explanation (IBE), for it alleges to show that we should not accept the conclusion of any case of such reasoning as it actually proceeds. Moreover, this is supposed to be the case irrespective of the details of the particular criteria used to select best explanations. The best of a bad lot objection is predicated (...)
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  9. The Relativity of Theory by Moti Mizrahi: Reply by the Author.Moti Mizrahi - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 87:173-174.
  10. Can Constructive Empiricists Believe in Exoplanets Too?Alessio Gava - 2021 - Dissertatio 51:167-182.
    Bas van Fraassen maintains that the actual function of optical instruments is producing images. Still, the output of a telescope is different from that of a microscope, for in the latter case it is not possible to empirically investigate the geometrical relations between the observer, the image and the detected entity, while in the former it is - at least in principle. In this paper I argue that this is a weak argument to support the belief in the existence of (...)
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  11. Expanding the Empirical Realm: Constructive Empiricism and Augmented Observation.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - In Michael Frauchiger (ed.), Themes from van Fraassen (Lauener Library of Analytical Philosophy). De Gruyter.
    Manifestationalism holds that science aims only to give us theories that are correct about what has been observed thus far. Several philosophers, including Bas van Fraassen, have argued that manifestationalism cannot make sense of the scientific impetus to make new observations, since such observations only risk turning manifestationally adequate theories into inadequate ones. This paper argues that a strikingly similar objection applies to van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, the view that science aims only to find theories that are empirically adequate. (...)
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  12. On the Argument From Double Spaces: A Reply to Moti Mizrahi.Seungbae Park - 2021 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 10 (2):1-6.
    Van Fraassen infers the truth of the contextual theory from his observation that it has passed a crucial test. Mizrahi infers the comparative truth of our best theories from his observation that they are more successful than their competitors. Their inferences require, according to the argument from double spaces, the prior belief that it is more likely that their target theories were pulled out from the T-space than from the O-space. The T-space is the logical space of unconceived theories whose (...)
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  13. Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories.Sebastian Lutz - 2021 - 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. pp. 354-378.
    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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  14. 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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  15. Concluding Unscientific Image. [REVIEW]Hans Halvorson - 2020 - Metascience 29:175-185.
    40-year anniversary review of van Fraassen's Scientific Image.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. Still Resisting: Replies to My Critics.K. Brad Wray - 2020 - Metascience 29 (1):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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  19. 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.
  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. Generalizing Empirical Adequacy II: Partial Structures.Sebastian Lutz - 2021 - Synthese 198 (2):1351-1380.
    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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  26. Constructive Philosophy of Technology and Responsible Innovation.Philip Brey - 2016 - In Anthonie W. M. Meijers, Peter Kroes, Pieter E. Vermaas & Maarten Franssen (eds.), Philosophy of Technology After the Empirical Turn. Springer Verlag.
    This essay argues for a new turn after the empirical turn in the philosophy of technology: the societal turn, which is the turn from reflective philosophy of technology (academic philosophy concerned with analysis and understanding) to constructive philosophy of technology (philosophy that is directly involved in solving practical problems in society). The essay aims to describe in detail what a constructive approach would look like and how it could be achieved. It claims that at least in the European Union, the (...)
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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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.
  32. 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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  33. 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 N. Giere - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (1):101-111.
  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. Constructive Empiricism Now.van Fraassen BasC - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1-2):151-170.
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  45. Constructive Empiricism.Monton Bradley & Mohler Chad - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  46. 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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  47. Experience Becoming Fully Literate. Van Fraassen on the Verge of Constructivism.Marie I. Kaiser, T. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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 - unknown
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