Authors
Anjan Chakravartty
University of Miami
Abstract
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 scientific realists and empiricist antirealists. Despite van Fraassen’s assertion to the contrary, voluntarism leads to a form of epistemic relativism. Rather than stifling debate, however, this ‘stance’ relativism places precise constraints on possibilities for constructive engagement between metaphysicians and empiricists, and thus distinguishes, in broad terms, paths along which this debate may usefully proceed from routes which offer no hope of progress.Author Keywords: Author Keywords: Empiricism; Metaphysics; Scientific realism; Voluntarism; Rationality; Relativism.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2003.12.002
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References found in this work BETA

Arguments for Scientific Realism: The Ascending Spiral.Alison Wylie - 1986 - American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (3):287 - 297.

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Citations of this work BETA

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Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225.

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