Chapter

The Dilemma of Empiricist Belief

Chad Mohler

in Images of Empiricism

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199218844
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218844.003.0011

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

 The Dilemma of Empiricist Belief

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This chapter evaluates van Fraassen's rejection of naïve empiricism. For example a naïve empiricist holds that to be an empiricist is to believe some thesis E. Van Fraassen argues that the naïve empiricist faces a dilemma. Suppose the naïve empiricist holds that E is not open to debate: this violates the empiricist idea that disagreement with any admissible factual hypothesis is admissible. Suppose instead that the naïve empiricist holds that E is open to debate: this prevents the empiricist from using E to challenge metaphysical claims. It is argued that that van Fraassen's stance empiricism also faces this same dilemma. The empiricist can consistently maintain that the beliefs necessary to empiricism are subject to empirical confirmation/disconfirmation, while also using those beliefs as the basis of a critique of metaphysics.

Keywords: Bas van Fraassen; naïve empiricism; dilemma of empiricist belief; The Empirical Stance; metaphysics

Chapter.  7883 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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