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Constructive Empiricism and Epistemic Modesty: Response to Van Fraassen and Monton

Marc Alspector-Kelly
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 64, No. 3 (2006), pp. 371-379
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20013401
Page Count: 9
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Constructive Empiricism and Epistemic Modesty: Response to Van Fraassen and Monton
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Abstract

Bas van Fraassen claims that constructive empiricism strikes a balance between the empiricist's commitments to epistemic modesty -- that one's opinion should extend no further beyond the deliverances of experience than is necessary -- and to the rationality of science. In "Should the Empiricist be a Constructive Empiricist?" I argued that if the constructive empiricist follows through on her commitment to epistemic modesty she will find herself adopting a much more extreme position than van Fraassen suggests. Van Fraassen and Bradley Monton have recently responded. My purpose here is to contest their response. The goal is not merely the rebuttal of a rebuttal; there is a lesson to learn concerning the realist/anti-realist dialectic generated by van Fraassen's view.

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