Microscopes and the Theory-Ladenness of Experience in Bas van Fraassen’s Recent Work

Martin Kusch
University of Vienna
Bas van Fraassen’s recent book Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective modifies and refines the “constructive empiricism” of The Scientific Image in a number of ways. This paper investigates the changes concerning one of the most controversial aspects of the overall position, that is, van Fraassen’s agnosticism concerning the veridicality of microscopic observation. The paper tries to make plausible that the new formulation of this agnosticism is an advance over the older rendering. The central part of this investigation is an attempt to answer Marc Alspector-Kelly’s 2004-criticism of an early version of van Fraassen’s new position. Alspector-Kelly’s contribution it is to date the most extensive attack on van Fraassen’s twenty-first-century work on the topic of microscopic observation. One of the central ideas emerging from the present discussion is a link between the debate over the veridicality of microscopic observation and the issue of the theory-ladenness of experience
Keywords Bas van Fraassen  Ian Hacking  Marc Alspector-Kelly  Paul Teller  Constructive empiricism  Theory-ladenness
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DOI 10.1007/s10838-015-9287-7
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References found in this work BETA

Do We See Through a Microscope?Ian Hacking - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (4):305-322.
Constructive Empiricism Now.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1):151-170.

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