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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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The Epistemology of Constructive Empiricism

The Epistemology of Constructive Empiricism

(p.46) 4 The Epistemology of Constructive Empiricism
Images of Empiricism

James Ladyman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter questions what epistemic reason van Fraassen has for focusing on empirical adequacy. It contrasts van Fraassen's constructive empiricism with a pragmatic empiricism, where one gives pragmatic, not epistemic, reasons for believing in the claims of a theory. It suggests that van Fraassen does not give adequate justification for why belief in the empirical adequacy of a theory could ever be epistemically warranted. Van Fraassen is also relying on a priori knowledge — a charge with which van Fraassen would presumably be unhappy.

Keywords:   Bas van Fraassen, empirical adequacy, pragmatic empiricism, constructive empiricism, a priori knowledge

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