Bas van Fraassen is nearly solely responsible for the initial development of constructive empiricism; its historically most important presentation appears in his The Scientific Image (1980). Constructive empiricism states that scientific theories are semantically literal, that they aim to be empirically adequate, and that their acceptance involves, as belief, only that they are empirically adequate. A theory is empirically adequate if and only if everything that it says about observable entities is true (regardless of what it says about unobservable entities). A theory is semantically literal if and only if the language of the theory is interpreted in such a way that the claims of the theory are either true or false (as opposed to an instrumentalist reading).
Constructive empiricism is thus a normative, semantic and epistemological thesis. That science aims to be empirically adequate expresses the normative component. That scientific theories are semantically literal expresses the semantic component. That acceptance involves, as belief, only that a theory is empirically adequate expresses the epistemological component.
Constructive empiricism opposes scientific realism, logical positivism (or logical empiricism) and instrumentalism. Constructive empiricism and scientific realism agree that theories are semantically literal, which logical positivism and instrumentalism deny. Constructive empiricism, logical positivism and instrumentalism agree that theories do not aim for truth about unobservables, which scientific realism denies.
Arturo Carsetti is an Italian Philosopher of sciences and former Professor of philosophy of science at the University of Bari and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He is the editor of the Italian Journal for the philosophy of science La Nuova Critica founded in 1957 by Valerio Tonini. He is notable for his contributions, also as a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, to philosophy of science, epistemology, cognitive science and philosophy of mind.Bas van Fraassen
Bastiaan Cornelis van Fraassen (; born 5 April 1941) is a Dutch-American philosopher. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University and the McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, noted for his seminal contributions to philosophy of science.Gideon Rosen
Gideon Rosen (born 1962) is an American philosopher. He is a Stuart Professor of Philosophy and the chair of the philosophy department at Princeton University. He חopped his Ph.D. at Princeton in 1992, under Paul Benacerraf. He taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before joining the Princeton faculty in 1993. He has served as chair of Princeton's Council of the Humanities and director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows.Index of philosophy of science articles
An index list of articles about the philosophy of science.Instrumentalism
In philosophy of science and in epistemology, Instrumentalism is a methodological view that ideas are useful instruments, and that the worth of an idea is based on how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena. Instrumentalism is a pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey that thought is an instrument for solving practical problems, and that truth is not fixed but changes as problems change. Instrumentalism is the view that scientific theories are useful tools for predicting phenomena instead of true or approximately true descriptions.The truth of an idea is determined by its success in the active solution of a problem. A successful scientific theory reveals nothing known either true or false about nature's unobservable objects, properties or processes. Scientific theories are assessed on their usefulness in generating predictions and in confirming those predictions in data and observations, and not on their ability to explain the truth value of some unobservable phenomenon. The question of "truth" is not taken into account one way or the other. According to instrumentalists, scientific theory is merely a tool whereby humans predict observations in a particular domain of nature by formulating laws, which state or summarize regularities, while theories themselves do not reveal supposedly hidden aspects of nature that somehow explain these laws. Initially a novel perspective introduced by Pierre Duhem in 1906, instrumentalism is largely the prevailing theory that underpins the practice of physicists today.Rejecting scientific realism's ambitions to uncover metaphysical truth about nature, instrumentalism is usually categorized as an antirealism, although its mere lack of commitment to scientific theory's realism can be termed nonrealism. Instrumentalism merely bypasses debate concerning whether, for example, a particle spoken about in particle physics is a discrete entity enjoying individual existence, or is an excitation mode of a region of a field, or is something else altogether. Instrumentalism holds that theoretical terms need only be useful to predict the phenomena, the observed outcomes.There are multiple versions of instrumentalism. Instrumentalism is a variety of scientific anti-realism.Paul Churchland
Paul Montgomery Churchland (born October 21, 1942) is a Canadian philosopher known for his studies in neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind. After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh under Wilfrid Sellars (1969), Churchland rose to the rank of full professor at the University of Manitoba before accepting the Valtz Family Endowed Chair in Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a joint appointments in that institution's Institute for Neural Computation and on its Cognitive Science Faculty.
As of February 2017, Churchland is recognised as Professor Emeritus at the UCSD, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Moscow State University. Churchland is the husband of philosopher Patricia Churchland, with whom he collaborates, and The New Yorker has reported the similarity of their views, e.g., on the mind-body problem, are such that the two are often discussed as if they are one person.Science
Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to explain events of the physical world based on natural causes. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions of the world deteriorated in Western Europe during the early centuries (400 to 1000 CE) of the Middle Ages but was preserved in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age. The recovery and assimilation of Greek works and Islamic inquiries into Western Europe from the 10th to 13th century revived natural philosophy, which was later transformed by the Scientific Revolution that began in the 16th century as new ideas and discoveries departed from previous Greek conceptions and traditions. The scientific method soon played a greater role in knowledge creation and it was not until the 19th century that many of the institutional and professional features of science began to take shape.Modern science is typically divided into three major branches that consist of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study nature in the broadest sense; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which study abstract concepts. There is disagreement, however, on whether the formal sciences actually constitute a science as they do not rely on empirical evidence. Disciplines that use existing scientific knowledge for practical purposes, such as engineering and medicine, are described as applied sciences.Science is based on research, which is commonly conducted in academic and research institutions as well as in government agencies and companies. The practical impact of scientific research has led to the emergence of science policies that seek to influence the scientific enterprise by prioritizing the development of commercial products, armaments, health care, and environmental protection.Scientific formalism
Scientific formalism is a family of approaches to the presentation of science. It is viewed as an important part of the scientific method, especially in the physical sciences.Scientific realism
Scientific realism is the view that the universe described by science is real regardless of how it may be interpreted.
Within philosophy of science, this view is often an answer to the question "how is the success of science to be explained?" The discussion on the success of science in this context centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make valid claims about unobservables (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables, as opposed to instrumentalism.Structuralism (philosophy of science)
Structuralism (also known as scientific structuralism or as the structuralistic theory-concept) is an active research program in the philosophy of science, which was first developed in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s by several analytic philosophers.The Marriage of Sense and Soul
The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion is a 1998 book by American author Ken Wilber. It reasons that by adopting contemplative (e.g. meditative) disciplines related to Spirit and commissioning them within a context of broad science, that "the spiritual, subjective world of ancient wisdom" could be joined "with the objective, empirical world of modern knowledge". The text further contends that integrating science and religion in this way would in turn, "have political dimensions sewn into its very fabric".Werner Leinfellner
Werner Leinfellner (January 27, 1921 – April 6, 2010) was professor of philosophy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and at the Vienna University of Technology. After recovering from life-threatening wounds during World War II, he studied chemistry and physics at the Universities of Vienna and Graz, eventually turning to the study of the philosophy of science, and receiving his Ph.D. in 1959. He moved to the United States in 1967, in part, because of problems faced by empirically oriented philosophers in obtaining academic positions in Austria and Germany. He is notable for his contributions to philosophy of science, as a member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, for founding the journal Theory and Decision, for co-founding Theory and Decision Library, and for co-founding the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society and International Wittgenstein Symposium.William C. Wimsatt
William C. Wimsatt (born May 27, 1941) is professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy, the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (previously Conceptual Foundations of Science), and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. He is currently a Winton Professor of the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota and Residential Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. He specializes in the philosophy of biology, where his areas of interest include reductionism, heuristics, emergence, scientific modeling, heredity, and cultural evolution.