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Profile: Bas C. Van Fraassen (San Francisco State University)
  1. Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
    Metaphysicians speak of laws of nature in terms of necessity and universality; scientists, in terms of symmetry and invariance. In this book van Fraassen argues that no metaphysical account of laws can succeed. He analyzes and rejects the arguments that there are laws of nature, or that we must believe there are, and argues that we should disregard the idea of law as an adequate clue to science. After exploring what this means for general epistemology, the author develops the empiricist (...)
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  2. Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2010 - In Antony Eagle (ed.), Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 235-256.
  3.  61
    The Empirical Stance.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2002 - Yale University Press.
    What is empiricism and what could it be? Bas C. van Fraassen, one of the world's foremost contributors to philosophical logic and the philosophy of science, here undertakes a fresh consideration of these questions and offers a program for renewal of the empiricist tradition. The empiricist tradition is not and could not be defined by common doctrines but embodies a certain stance in philosophy, van Fraassen says. This stance is displayed first of all in a searing recurrent critique of metaphysics, (...)
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  4. Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2008 - Oxford University Press UK.
  5. Structure: Its Shadow and Substance.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):275-307.
    Structural realism as developed by John Worrall and others can claim philosophical roots as far back as the late 19th century, though the discussion at that time does not unambiguously favor the contemporary form, or even its realism. After a critical examination of some aspects of the historical background some severe critical challenges to both Worrall's and Ladyman's versions are highlighted, and an alternative empiricist structuralism proposed. Support for this empiricist version is provided in part by the different way in (...)
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  6. Belief and the Problem of Ulysses and the Sirens.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 77 (1):7-37.
    This is surely a bit of Socrates' famous irony. He draws the analogy to explain how his friends should regard poetry as they regretfully banish it from the ideal state. But lovers were no more sensible then than they are now. The advice to banish poetry, undermined already by Plato's own delight and skill in drama, is perhaps undermined still further by this evocation of a 'sensible' lover who counts love so well lost. Yet Socrates' image is one of avowed (...)
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  7. Structure: Its Substance and Shadow.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):275.
    On December 9, 1908 Max Planck addressed the Student Corps of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Leiden. His announced topic was _ The Unity of the Physical World-Picture _, but the real intent was a polemic against a whole bevy of famous scientists who had turned against realism in the past fifty years. The debate concerning how science represents nature, and specifically whether it represents more than solely structural aspects of the phenomena, had begun earlier in (...)
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  8.  98
    The Perils of Perrin, in the Hands of Philosophers.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):5 - 24.
    The story of how Perrin’s experimental work established the reality of atoms and molecules has been a staple in (realist) philosophy of science writings (Wesley Salmon, Clark Glymour, Peter Achinstein, Penelope Maddy, …). I’ll argue that how this story is told distorts both what the work was and its significance, and draw morals for the understanding of how theories can be or fail to be empirically grounded.
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  9.  49
    Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1991 - Oxford University Press.
    After introducing the empiricist point of view in philosophy of science, and the concepts and methods of the semantic approach to scientific theories, van Fraassen discusses quantum theory in three stages. He first examines the question of whether and how empirical phenomena require a non-classical theory, and what sort of theory they require. He then discusses the mathematical foundations of quantum theory with special reference to developments in the modelling of interaction, composite systems, and measurement. Finally, the author broaches the (...)
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  10.  96
    One or Two Gentle Remarks About Hans Halvorson’s Critique of the Semantic View.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (2):276-283,.
  11. Probabilities of Conditionals.Bas van Fraassen - 1976 - In C. Hooker (ed.), Foundations of probability theory, statistical inference, and statistical theories of science.
  12. Singular Terms, Truth-Value Gaps, and Free Logic.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1966 - Journal of Philosophy 63 (17):481-495.
  13. The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
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  14. Constructive Empiricism Now.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (1-2):151 - 170.
    Constructive empiricism, the view introduced in The Scientific Image, is a view of science, an answer to the question "what is science?" Arthur Fine's and Paul Teller's contributions to this symposium challenge especially two key ideas required to formulate that view, namely the observable/unobservable and acceptance/belief distinctions. I wish to thank them not only for their insightful critique but also for the support they include. For they illuminate and counter some misunderstandings of Constructive Empiricism along the way. That leaves me (...)
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  15.  33
    Replies to Discussion on the Empirical Stance.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 121 (2).
  16. Representation: The Problem for Structuralism.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):536-547.
    What does it mean to embed the phenomena in an abstract structure? Or to represent them by doing so? The semantic view of theories runs into a severe problem if these notions are construed either naively, in a metaphysical way, or too closely on the pattern of the earlier syntactic view. Constructive empiricism and structural realism will then share those difficulties. The problem will be posed as in Reichenbach's The Theory of Relativity and A Priori Knowledge, and realist reactions will (...)
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  17.  11
    What is Scientific Realism?Anjan Chakravartty & Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2018 - Spontaneous Generations 9 (1):12-25.
    Decades of debate about scientific realism notwithstanding, we find ourselves bemused by what different philosophers appear to think it is, exactly. Does it require any sort of belief in relation to scientific theories and, if so, what sort? Is it rather typified by a certain understanding of the rationality of such beliefs? In the following dialogue we explore these questions in hopes of clarifying some convictions about what scientific realism is, and what it could or should be. En route, we (...)
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  18.  72
    Identity Over Time: Objectively, Subjectively.Bas C. van Fraassen & Isabelle Peschard - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):15-35.
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  19.  64
    Fine-Grained Opinion, Probability, and the Logic of Full Belief.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (4):349-377.
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  20.  45
    On the Extension of Beth's Semantics of Physical Theories.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (3):325-339.
    A basic aim of E. Beth's work in philosophy of science was to explore the use of formal semantic methods in the analysis of physical theories. We hope to show that a general framework for Beth's semantic analysis is provided by the theory of semi-interpreted languages, introduced in a previous paper. After developing Beth's analysis of nonrelativistic physical theories in a more general form, we turn to the notion of the 'logic' of a physical theory. Here we prove a result (...)
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  21. Conditionalization, a New Argument For.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1999 - Topoi 18 (2):93-96.
    Probabilism in epistemology does not have to be of the Bayesian variety. The probabilist represents a person''s opinion as a probability function; the Bayesian adds that rational change of opinion must take the form of conditionalizing on new evidence. I will argue that this is the correct procedure under certain special conditions. Those special conditions are important, and instantiated for example in scientific experimentation, but hardly universal. My argument will be related to the much maligned Reflection Principle (van Fraassen, 1984, (...)
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  22.  95
    Values and the Heart's Command.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (1):5-19.
  23. Scientific Representation: A Long Journey From Pragmatics to Pragmatics. [REVIEW]James Ladyman, Otávio Bueno, Mauricio Suárez & Bas van Fraassen - 2011 - Metascience 20 (3):417-442.
    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 (...)
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  24. Presupposition, Implication, and Self-Reference.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (5):136-152.
  25. Science as Representation: Flouting the Criteria.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):794-804.
    Criteria of adequacy for scientific representation of the phenomena pertain to accuracy and truth. But that representation is selective and may require distortion even in the selected parameters; this point is intimately connected with the fact that representation is intentional, and its adequacy relative to its particular purpose. Since observation and measurement are perspectival and the appearances to be saved are perspectival measurement outcomes, the question whether this “saving” is an explanatory relation provides a new focus for the realist/antirealist debate. (...)
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  26.  48
    A Problem for Relative Information Minimizers in Probability Kinematics.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1981 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (4):375-379.
  27. Facts and Tautological Entailments.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (15):477-487.
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  28. `World' is Not a Count Noun.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1995 - Noûs 29 (2):139-157.
    The word "world" has in fact many ordinary uses as a count noun; I shall discuss some of them below.(2) There is however also a distinctive philosophical use found in recent ontology (in the sense in which Quine reintroduced this term in analytic philosophy, for theories about what there is). As to this philosophical use, I shall argue that there is no reason to think that it refers to anything, if indeed it is intelligible at all.
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  29. The Charybdis of Realism: Epistemological Implications of Bell's Inequality.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1982 - Synthese 52 (1):25-38.
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  30. Rovelli's World.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (4):390-417.
    Carlo Rovelli’s inspiring “Relational Quantum Mechanics” serves several aims at once: it provides a new vision of what the world of quantum mechanics is like, and it offers a program to derive the theory’s formalism from a set of simple postulates pertaining to information processing. I propose here to concentrate entirely on the former, to explore the world of quantum mechanics as Rovelli depicts it. It is a fascinating world in part because of Rovelli’s reliance on the information-theory approach to (...)
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  31.  1
    The Empirical Stance.Bas van Fraassen - 2006 - Philosophical Review 115 (3):404-408.
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  32. Scientific Structuralism: Structuralism(s) About Science: Some Common Problems.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):45–61.
  33.  14
    The Logic of Conditional Obligation.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1972 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 1 (3/4):417.
  34.  77
    The Pragmatics of Explanation.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1977 - American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (2):143-150.
  35.  7
    Replies to Discussion on the Empirical.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 121 (2):171-192.
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  36.  12
    Representational of Conditional Probabilities.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1976 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 5 (3):417-430.
  37. The Scientific Image.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (5):274-283.
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  38. To Save the Phenomena.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (18):623-632.
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  39. Putnam's Paradox: Metaphysical Realism Revamped and Evaded.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1997 - Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):17-42.
    Hilary Putnam's argument against metaphysical realism (commonly referred to as the "model theoretic argument") has now enjoyed two decades of discussion.(1) The text is rich and contains variously construable arguments against variously construed philosophical positions. David Lewis isolated one argument and called it "Putnam's Paradox".(2) That argument is clear and concise; so is the paradoxical conclusion it purports to demonstrate; and so is Lewis' paradox-avoiding solution. His solution involves a position I call "anti-nominalism": not only are classes real, but they (...)
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  40. The Agnostic Subtly Probabilified.C. van Fraassen Bas - 1998 - Analysis 58 (3):212–220.
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  41.  77
    Modeling and Measurement: The Criterion of Empirical Grounding.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):773-784.
  42. The Only Necessity is Verbal Necessity.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1977 - Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):71-85.
  43.  31
    Vague Expectation Value Loss.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (3):483 - 491.
    Vague subjective probability may be modeled by means of a set of probability functions, so that the represented opinion has only a lower and upper bound. The standard rule of conditionalization can be straightforwardly adapted to this. But this combination has difficulties which, though well known in the technical literature, have not been given sufficient attention in probabilist or Bayesian epistemology. Specifically, updating on apparently irrelevant bits of news can be destructive of one’s explicitly prior expectations. Stability of vague subjective (...)
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  44.  34
    An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1970 - Columbia University Press.
  45. From Vicious Circle to Infinite Regress, and Back Again.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:6-29.
    The attempt to formulate a viable empiricist and non-foundationalist epistemology of science faces four problems here confronted. The first is an apparent loss of objectivity in science, in the conditions of use of models in applied science. The second derives from the theory-infection of scientific language, with an apparent loss of objective conditions of truth and reference. The third, often cited as objection to The Scientific Image, is the apparent theory-dependence of the distinction between what is and is not observable. (...)
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  46.  83
    Making the Abstract Concrete: The Role of Norms and Values in Experimental Modeling.Isabelle Peschard & Bas van Fraassen - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:3-10.
    Experimental modeling is the construction of theoretical models hand in hand with experimental activity. As explained in Section 1, experimental modeling starts with claims about phenomena that use abstract concepts, concepts whose conditions of realization are not yet specified; and it ends with a concrete model of the phenomenon, a model that can be tested against data. This paper argues that this process from abstract concepts to concrete models involves judgments of relevance, which are irreducibly normative. In Section 2, we (...)
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  47. On McMullin’s Appreciation of Realism Concerning the Sciences.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (3):479-492.
    Constructive empiricism is indeed set squarely within a common sense realism that was foreign to much of the empiricist tradition. But I do not see this common sense realism, which I take myself to share with many scientific realists, as harboring or leading to scientific realism. That is in part because of the way I separate the opposition between empiricist and realist understanding of science from other issues that divide us in epistemology. This discussion brought to light our quite different (...)
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  48.  63
    A Problem for Relative Information Minimizers, Continued.Bas C. Van Fraassen, R. I. G. Hughes & Gilbert Harman - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (4):453-463.
  49. The Empirical Stance.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 121 (2):171-192.
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  50.  39
    Meaning Relations Among Predicates.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1967 - Noûs 1 (2):161-179.
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