Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...) 4, I analyse van Fraassen’s voluntarism. I raise some objections about van Fraassen’s reliance on prior opinion and argue that the content of a belief matters to its rationality. In section 5, I criticise van Fraassen’s view that inference to the best explanation is incoherent. Finally, in section 6, I take on van Fraassen’s conception of rationality and show that it is too thin to fully capture rational judgement. (shrink)
(1975). The History of Salvation in Dr. A. A. van Ruler's Theology An Introduction to his Theology on the Occasion of the Publication of his “Theological Works”. Bijdragen: Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 391-419.
Considering Pragma-Dialectics honors the monumental contributions of one of the foremost international figures in current argumentation scholarship: Frans van Eemeren. The volume presents the research efforts of his colleagues and addresses how their work relates to the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation with which van Eemeren’s name is so intimately connected. This tribute serves to highlight the varied approaches to the study of argumentation and is destined to inspire researchers to advance scholarship in the field far into the future. Replete with (...) contributions from highly-esteemed academics in argumentation study, chapters in this volume address such topics as: *Pragma-dialectic versus epistemic theories of arguing and arguments; *Pragma-dialectics and self-advocacy in physician-patient interactions; *The pragma-dialectical analysis of the ad hominem family; *Rhetoric, dialectic, and the functions of argument; and *The semantics of reasonableness. As an exceptional volume and a fitting tribute, this work will be of interest to all argumentation scholars considering the astute insights and scholarly legacy of Frans van Eemeren. (shrink)
In his recent book on the problem of evil, Peter van Inwagen argues that both the global and local arguments from evil are failures. In this paper, we engagevan Inwagen’s book at two main points. First, we consider his understanding of what it takes for a philosophical argument to succeed. We argue that while his criterion for success is interesting and helpful, there is good reason to think it is too stringent. Second, we consider his responses to the global and (...) local arguments from evil. We argue that although van Inwagen may have adequately responded to each of these arguments, his discussion points us toa third argument from evil to which he has yet to provide a response. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
Three-dimensional material models of molecules were used throughout the 19th century, either functioning as a mere representation or opening new epistemic horizons. In this paper, two case studies are examined: the 1875 models of van ‘t Hoff and the 1890 models of Sachse. What is unique in these two case studies is that both models were not only folded, but were also conceptualized mathematically. When viewed in light of the chemical research of that period not only were both of these (...) aspects, considered in their singularity, exceptional, but also taken together may be thought of as a subversion of the way molecules were chemically investigated in the 19th century. Concentrating on this unique shared characteristic in the models of van ‘t Hoff and the models of Sachse, this paper deals with the shifts and displacements between their operational methods and existence: between their technical and epistemological aspects and the fact that they were folded, which was forgotten or simply ignored in the subsequent development of chemistry. (shrink)
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 (...) no relevance to the scientific practice. For this reason, they address van Fraassen’s allegations against IBE qua justification of the existence of unobservable entities in a couple of pages and prefer focusing on the other lines they identified. The aim of this work is to pour over the analysis that the two authors perform about van Fraassen’s mentioned argument and some realists’ replies, particularly in the section that Minikoski and Rodrigues da Silva devote to this topic. This will allow us to clarify van Fraassen’s vision on scientific practice and on the ‘immersion in the theoretical world-picture’. The importance and the relevance of the distinction between observables and unobservables will also be reaffirmed. (shrink)
A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to (...) statements claiming the existence of unobservable entities are inferences to probabilistic statements, whence the crucial importance of the interpretation of probability. (shrink)
In regards to the problem of evil, van Inwagen thinks there are two arguments from evil which require different defenses. These are the global argument from evil—that there exists evil in general, and the local argument from evil—that there exists some particular atrocious evil X. However, van Inwagen fails to consider whether the problem of God’s hiddenness also has a “local” version: whether there is in fact a “local” argument from God’s hiddenness which would be undefeated by his general defense (...) of God’s hiddenness. This paper will argue that van Inwagen’s present account contains no implicit response to the “local” argument from God’s hiddenness, and, worse, the “local” argument brings to the fore crucial inconsistencies in van Inwagen’s account. These inconsistencies concern van Inwagen’s criterion for philosophical success—his methodological use of an “ideal audience” in an ideal debate—and a crucial premise in his argument: namely, that people who do not believe in God are culpably deceiving themselves regarding the manifest presence of God. These considerations will be a platform for my arguing that the failures of van Inwagen’s account amount to his ignoring the extra-rational, concrete aspect of grasping “spiritual propositions”—propositions which, in order to be affirmed, require the full self-understanding which precipitates out of the mind, body, and will of a particular existing individual. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n1p49 The aim of this article is to offer a rejoinder to an argument against scientific realism put forward by van Fraassen, based on theoretical considerations regarding microphysics. At a certain stage of his general attack to scientific realism, van Fraassen argues, in contrast to what realists typically hold, that empirical regularities should sometimes be regarded as “brute facts”, which do not ask for explanation in terms of deeper, unobservable mechanisms. The argument from microphysics formulated by van Fraassen is based (...) on the claim that in microphysics the demand for explanation leads to a demand for the so-called hidden-variable theories, which “runs contrary to at least one major school of thought in twentieth-century physics”. It is shown here that this argument does not represent an insurmountable obstacle to scientific realism, not even when a series of important theoretical and experimental results against hidden-variable theories — and not merely a conflict with a certain school of thought—is taken into account. (shrink)
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 (...) (representational) sense should be considered as such. For this and other reasons, van Fraassen’s diagram should be amended. Moreover, as Physics teaches us, the class of the so-called ‘images’ that are actually objects is wider than van Fraassen reckons. The set of the observable objects do not contain only concrete things, but goes beyond what ‘common sense realism’ suggests. In addition to rocks, oceans and bicycles, we can also see rainbows, reflections in the water and the like. (shrink)
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; (...) it means recognizing that scientific enterprise is just a human activity, among many others. (shrink)
According to Peter van Inwagen, C. S. Lewis failed in his attempt to undermine naturalism with his Argument from Reason. According to van Inwagen, Lewis provides no justification for his central premise, that naturalism is inconsistent with holding beliefs for reasons. What is worse, van Inwagen argues that the main premise in Lewis's argument from reason is false. We argue that it is not false. The defender of Lewis's argument can make use of the problem of mental causal drainage, a (...) longstanding issue in philosophy of mind, to show how van Inwagen's objection fails. (shrink)
Psillos has recently argued that van Fraassen’s arguments against abduction fail. Moreover, he claimed that, if successful, these arguments would equally undermine van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, for, Psillos thinks, it is only by appeal to abduction that constructive empiricism can be saved from issuing in a bald scepticism. We show that Psillos’ criticisms are misguided, and that they are mostly based on misinterpretations of van Fraassen’s arguments. Furthermore, we argue that Psillos’ arguments for his claim that constructive empiricism itself (...) needs abduction point up to his failure to recognize the importance of van Fraassen’s broader epistemology for constructive empiricism. Towards the end of our paper we discuss the suspected relationship between constructive empiricism and scepticism in the light of this broader epistemology, and from a somewhat more general perspective. (shrink)
Scientific representation: A long journey from pragmatics to pragmatics Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9465-5 Authors James Ladyman, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, 9 Woodland Rd, Bristol, BS8 1TB UK Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Mauricio Suárez, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Journal Metascience Online (...) ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
In a recent article, van Fraassen has taken issue with the use to which Perrin’s experiments on Brownian motion have been put by philosophers, especially those defending scientific realism. He defends an alternative position by analysing the details of Perrin’s case in its historical context. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen has not done the job well enough and I extend and in some respects attempt to correct his claims by close attention to the historical details.
In his recent book on the problem of evil, Peter van Inwagen argues that both the global and local arguments from evil are failures. In this paper, we engagevan Inwagen’s book at two main points. First, we consider his understanding of what it takes for a philosophical argument to succeed. We argue that whilehis criterion for success is interesting and helpful, there is good reason to think it is too stringent. Second, we consider his responses to the global andlocal arguments (...) from evil. We argue that although van Inwagen may have adequately responded to each of these arguments, his discussion points us toa third argument from evil to which he has yet to provide a response. (shrink)
In this article, Christi van der Westhuizen's sociopolitical contribution in her publication, Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa, is reviewed. In light of the official end of apartheid in 1994, South Africans are attempting to define a new identity. Van der Westhuizen's publication focusses on how the identity of white Afrikaans women, as both the oppressor and the oppressed, influences and contributes to the endeavour of a search for new identity. In deconstructing and re-imagining new identity, Van (...) der Westhuizen deconstructs the 'supporting scaffolding' of Afrikaner identity and examines the impact of white patriarchal hegemony that silences the voice of women, sexual minorities and black consciousness. The review concludes with the emphasis on the transformative role of shame, that is, the willingness to expose the false sense of goodness that we had of ourselves, as pointed out by Van der Westhuizen. In this regard, the recognition of the intersectionality of people's experiences becomes a key aspect of the endeavour of a search for new identity. (shrink)
A.G. van Aarde and historical Jesus research. A.G. van Aarde’s contribution to historical Jesus research is mainly expressed in his book Fatherless in Galilee: Jesus as Child of God. The book was the result of five years of Jesus research. Van Aarde is an ordained minister of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. Since the book’s publication in 2001, the NRCA has experienced an immense dispute regarding the book in particular but also regarding the subject of historical Jesus research in (...) general. This dispute has publicly escalated since 2010. It has often centred on Van Aarde’s notion of Jesus’ fatherlessness. This article will focus on said book in order to ascertain what is meant by the concept ‘the fatherless Jesus’. This is done to illustrate that Van Aarde’s research, as it converges in the scrutinised publication, remains of relevance to the NRCA. (shrink)
Verhack's book De mens en zijn onrust. Over het raadsel van de beweging seeks to develop a metaphysics after the 'end of metaphysics'. Such a metaphysics not only has to take into account Nietzsche's and Heidegger's radical critiques of metaphysics. It also has to avoid the soteriological strategies of traditional metaphysics by searching for a transcendent meaning, to which our finite and resdess human existence is pointing from the inside. Yet in which direction does our human existence transcend itself? By (...) comparing Verhack's answer to this question with Thomas Aquinas' discussion of the desiderium naturale Dei, it is argued that Verhack's post-metaphysical metaphysics is based on a spiritualistic outlook on life. From this line of argument it is shown that this metaphysics threatens to perpetrate the verysame soteriological strategies it tried to avoid, and to pass over the meaning and bearing of 'the end of metaphysics'. (shrink)
Summary In 1874, the Dutch chemist and Nobel prizewinner Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff (1852?1911) laid the foundations for stereochemistry with a publication in which he openly suggested that molecules were real physical entities with a three-dimensional structure. He visualized this new spatial concept with illustrations, but also with the help of small cardboard molecular models, which he made himself. Some of these models have survived the ravages of time and are among the oldest molecular models in the world still (...) in existence. What is more, they are the first material models of a three-dimensional molecular structure ever made. This article describes the surviving Van 't Hoff models, kept in Museum Boerhaave in Leiden and in the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Special attention is paid to the use of these models and the specific purposes they served. A closer examination of the models and their context reveals that they had an essential part to play in the early development and spread of Van 't Hoff's stereochemistry theory: he put his molecular models not only to versatile use as didactic tools, scientific instruments, and precursors to experimental proof, but also as devices to persuade other scientists of the usefulness of his theory. (shrink)
In a recent paper, I argue that the pragmatic and epistemic arguments for Bayesian updating are based on an unwarranted assumption, which I call Deterministic Updating, and which says that your updating plan should be deterministic. In that paper, I did not consider whether the symmetry arguments due to Hughes and van Fraassen make the same assumption (Hughes & van Fraassen 1984; van Fraassen 1987). In this note, I show that they do.
In a recent article published in Ergo and entitled "Ontic explanation is either ontic or explanatory, but not both," Cory Wright and Dingmar van Eck have sought to undermine any ontic approach to explanation, providing three arguments to show that an epistemic approach is "the only game in town." I show that each of their arguments is straightforwardly question-begging. For brevity, I make my counter-arguments by showing how the claims of Sheredos (2016)-whom Wright & van Eck cite as an ally-undermine (...) each of their own arguments. The consumer update is: there is no new decisive argument against an ontic view, the epistemic view is not the only game in town, and reconciliation between the ontic and epistemic views remains possible. -/- . (shrink)
The paper takes up the objections raised in van der Auwera (1993) against the joint analysis of the German particles schon, noch and erst published in Löbner (1989). Central to my analysis is the claim that the particles are organized in duality groups of four to which essentially the same type of analysis applies. Van der Auwera (1993) claims that already/schon, in its basic use, is different from the other three particles in having a more complex meaning which results in (...) an opposition of the particle to finally/endlich. As to the narrow-focus temporal uses he argues that the duality approach is inadequate in including improper members on the one hand, and excluding relevant particles on the other.The criticism will be refuted. After a recollection of the duality analysis in Section 2, van der Auwera's arguments against the general design of my analysis are dealt with in Section 3. It will be argued that his own analysis of already/schon and its group, as far as it is supported by the data, does not really differ from my approach. In Section 4, I will deal with the claim that finally/endlich contradicts already/schon, which if correct would provide an indirect argument against the duality analysis of schon and noch. I will argue that endlich is set apart from the particles of the schon group by the presence of a non-descriptive, expressive, meaning component. For its descriptive meaning, endlich logically entails schon and belongs to a parallel duality group of its own together with noch immer. The apparent incompatibility of finally/endlich and already/schon can be explained as a conflict between what is foregrounded by each particle, respectively. In Section 5, I will argue that, contrary to van der Auwera's claims, the narrow focus uses of schon and its kin do form proper duality groups. The existence of such uses of noch, not treated in Löbner (1989), does not invalidate the duality analysis of schon and erst. Rather, noch in its relevant narrow-focus use belongs to yet another duality group together with its dual nur noch. (shrink)
For a biological anthropologist interested in the prehistory of religion, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen's book is welcome and resonant. Van Huyssteen's central thesis is that humans' capacity for spirituality emerges from a transformation of cognition and emotions that takes place in the symbolic realm, within Homo sapiens and apart from biology. To his thesis I bring to bear three areas of response: the abundant cognitive and emotional capacities of living apes and extinct hominids; the role of symbolic ritual in the (...) evolutionary history of Homo sapiens; and the closely intertwined nature of biology and culture in the workings of evolutionary change. (shrink)
It is the aim of work in theoretical cognitive science to produce good theories of what exactly cognition amounts to, preferably theories which not only provide a framework for fruitful empirical investigation, but which also shed light on cognitive activity itself, which help us to understand our place, as cognitive agents, in a complex causally determined physical universe. The most recent such framework to gain significant fame is the so-called dynamical approach to cognition. Explaining and exploring DST is the purpose (...) of the collection Mind as Motion: Explorations in the Dynamics of Cognition, edited by Robert Port and Timothy van Gelder. (shrink)
Van Fraassen's epistemology is forged from two commitments, one to a type of Bayesianism and the other to what he terms voluntarism. Van Fraassen holds that if one is going to follow a rule in belief-revision, it must be a Bayesian rule, but that one does not need to follow a rule in order to be rational. It is argued that van Fraassen's arguments for rejecting non-Bayesian rules is unsound, and that his voluntarism is subject to a fatal dilemma arising (...) from the non-monotonic character of reasoning. (shrink)
Van Helmont's chemistry and medicine played a prominent part in the seventeenth-century opposition to Aristotelian natural philosophy and to Galenic medicine. Helmontian works, which rapidly achieved great notoriety all over Europe, gave rise to the most influential version of the chemical philosophy. Helmontian terms such as Archeus, Gas and Alkahest all became part of the accepted vocabulary of seventeenth-century science and medicine.
Each person is perceived by others and by herself as an individual in a very strong sense, namely as a unique individual. Moreover, this supposed uniqueness is commonly thought of as linked with another character that we tend to attribute to persons (as opposed to stones or chairs and even non-human animals): a kind of depth, hidden to sensory perception, yet in some measure accessible to other means of knowledge. I propose a theory of strong or essential individuality. This theory (...) is introduced by way of a critical discussion of Van Inwagen’s and Baker’s ontologies of persons. Composition Theory and Constitution Theory are shown to be complementary, in their opposite strong and weak points. I argue that both theories have unsatisfactory consequences concerning personal identity, a problem which the proposed theory seems to solve more faithfully both to folk intuitions and the phenomenology of personal life. (shrink)
As the title suggests, Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto offers a critique of the profession of philosophy and an inclusive vision for its future. Importantly, unlike many philosophical critiques of philosophy, this book is not merely meta. It delivers a bona fide introduction to philosophy while exemplifying the kinds of conceptual sensitivities and skills that can help students see that philosophy is distinctively valuable. The author, Bryan Van Norden, provides compelling and learned articulations of these projects, all with a (...) language that newcomers to philosophy will find accessible, witty, and polemically engaging. So I think this book is an impressive achievement and an important voice to be... (shrink)
__In this paper I investigate unification as a virtue of explanation. I the first part of the paper I give a brief exposition of the unification account of Schurz and Lambert and Schurz. I illustrate the advantages of this account in comparison to the older unification accounts of Friedman and Kitcher. In the second part I discuss several comments and objections to the Schurz-Lambert account that were raised by Weber and van Dyck, Gijsberg and de Regt. In the third and (...) final part, I argue that explanation should be understood as a prototype concept which contains nomic expectability, causality and unification as prototypical virtues of explanations, although none of these virtues provides a sufficient and necessary "defining condition" of explanation. (shrink)
Jan Albert van Laar and Erik Krabbe’s paper “Splitting a difference of opinion” studies an important type of dialogue shift, namely that from a deliberation dialogue over action or policy options where critical and persuasive argumentation is exchanged about the rational acceptability of the policy options proposed by various parties, to a negotiation dialogue where agreement is reached by a series of compromises, or trade-offs, on the part of each side in the disagreement.
First, I'd like to thank Professors Van Till, Pun, and McMullin for their careful and thoughtful replies. There is a deep level of agreement among all four of us; as is customary with replies and replies to replies, however, I shall concentrate on our areas of disagreement. In the cases of Van Till and McMullin, this may give an impression of deeper disagreement than actually exists. In the case of Pun it leaves me with little to say except Yea and (...) Amen; I find no serious disagreement between us. (shrink)
Van den Belt recently examined the notion that synthetic biology and the creation of ‘artificial’ organisms are examples of scientists ‘playing God’. Here I respond to some of the issues he raises, including some of his comments on my previous discussions of the value of the term ‘life’ as a scientific concept.
van Fraassen's constructivist empiricist account of theories makes an epistemic distinction between entities that can and cannot be observed with the naked eye. A belief about the correctness of a theoretical description of an entity that is observable with the naked eye can be warranted by a theory. In contrast, no theory can warrant a belief about the correctness of a description of an unobservable entity. I argue that we ought to instead adopt a view that takes account of the (...) fact that some entities that cannot be observed with the naked eye can nevertheless be observed on the basis of the same physical principle as those entities that can be. This suggests that there is a distinction different from van Fraassen's that might do the work van Fraassen intends his to do, but a distinction that is principled. Understanding why this is so suggests that his distinction is grounded merely in human chauvinism. (shrink)