Analysis 69 (1):38-42 (2009)

Authors
Abstract
In this journal, Peter Lipton and I discussed Musgrave's objection that the constructive empiricist cannot consistently maintain his own distinction between the observable and the unobservable, and van Fraassen's initial reply. We considered several possible interpretations of van Fraassen, and expressed misgivings about each. Muller and van Fraassen have consequently clarified the official constructive empiricist response to Musgrave, although some issues still remain.According to Muller and van Fraassen, Musgrave's objection assumes that constructive empiricism is to be understood in line with a syntactic account of our scientific theories – whereby a theory consists of a set of sentences formulated in some suitable language – whereas constructive empiricism has always been wedded to an explicitly semantic account of our scientific theories, which understands a scientific theory in terms of a class of models. Once this oversight is amended, the objection is seen to be toothless. As Muller and van Fraassen write: " Indeed, the only proper response, and the one that turns the table on Musgrave and his followers, is to argue that his incoherence argument does not work in the context of the semantic view as here elaborated, while the bad consequence he draws is an inevitable corollary to the older view within which he presents it. "The force of Musgrave's objection therefore turns on nothing more than implicitly saddling the constructive empiricist with an independently problematic account of what a scientific theory is.This move should cause some surprise however, for Musgrave's objection – albeit usually presented in conjunction with an explicitly syntactic construal of our scientific theories – is in fact quite neutral between these competing accounts. As Musgrave originally put it, in order for the constructive empiricist to draw his distinction between observable and unobservable …
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/analys/ann006
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,321
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Image.Michael Friedman - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Constructive Empiricism and the Vices of Voluntarism.Paul Dicken - 2009 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (2):189 – 201.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Constructive Empiricism and Modal Metaphysics: A Reply to Monton and Van Fraassen.James Ladyman - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):755-765.
The Pragmatics of Observation.Richard Creath - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:149 - 153.
On Accepting Van Fraassen's Image of Science.Jeff Foss - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (1):79-92.
The Deep Black Sea: Observability and Modality Afloat.F. A. Muller - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):61-99.
Embeddability, Syntax, and Semantics in Accounts of Scientific Theories.Peter Turney - 1990 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 19 (4):429 - 451.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-02-23

Total views
104 ( #97,167 of 2,419,781 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #351,015 of 2,419,781 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes