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The Epistemic Agent in Logical Positivism

Alan W. Richardson and Thomas E. Uebel
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes
Vol. 79 (2005), pp. 73-87+89-105
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Aristotelian Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4106936
Page Count: 32
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The Epistemic Agent in Logical Positivism
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Abstract

[Alan W. Richardson] This essay explores the uses that Michael Friedman and Bas van Fraassen have recently made of the work of Hans Reichenbach. It uses Friedman's work to complicate van Fraassen's invocation of Reichenbach's voluntarism in support of empiricism. It uses van Fraassen's work to motivate a concern with Friedman's neo-Kantian reading of Reichenbach. We are, finally, left with questions about the status and content of the account of the epistemic subject available to an epistemological voluntarist. /// [Thomas E. Uebel] This response considers the question whether empiricists are condemned to silence about the epistemic agency their theories attribute or presuppose. It is argued that, unlike Reichenbach or Carnap, Neurath allowed for and indeed provided specifications of the role of epistemic agency in scientific inquiry. If this is correct, it underscores once more the need to distinguish between the various strands of logical positivism which show different strengths and weaknesses.

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