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Images of EmpiricismEssays on Science and Stances, with a Reply from Bas C. van Fraassen$
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Bradley Monton

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199218844

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218844.001.0001

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Constructive Empiricism and the Argument from Underdetermination

Constructive Empiricism and the Argument from Underdetermination

(p.11) 2 Constructive Empiricism and the Argument from Underdetermination
Images of Empiricism

Maarten Van Dyck

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the arguments van Fraassen gives for constructive empiricism. Van Fraassen is often presented as giving some version of the argument from underdetermination: the argument which holds that since theories always have empirically equivalent rivals, empirical evidence can never adjudicate between a theory and its rivals, and hence belief in any theory is unfounded. It is argued that van Fraassen does not give any version of the argument from underdetermination, and that the argument from underdetermination is incompatible with van Fraassen's epistemological views.

Keywords:   Bas van Fraassen, underdetermination, constructive empiricism, voluntarism, The Scientific Image

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