Bas Van Faassen Analysis

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Bas van Fraassen has centered a large part of his philosophical career on studying scientific realism and describing a form of anti-realism called constructive empiricism. Van Fraassen is certainly steadfast in anti-realist belief, but doesn’t seem to have to alter too much of the realist’s perspective to form his beliefs. According to his definition of scientific realism “Science aims to give us, in its theories, a literally true story of what the world is like.”1 This is not a statement that he would necessarily disagree with in a vague sense, but the specifics of what science is actually aiming to explain and the power that theories actually hold is what he refines. The accepted definition of scientific realism, outside of Van Fraassen’s …show more content…
Van Fraassen mentions numerous times that it is very possible that a given theory or set of theories may very well be false. He offers an alternative proposition, stating “we are always willing to believe that the theory which best explains the evidence, is empirically adequate.”1 Here he is basically using a traditionally realist idea to justify an anti-realist claim, that being the notion that a theory that is superior in its explanatory nature is empirically adequate. The importance of empirical adequacy is a pivotal factor in differentiating Van Fraassen’s beliefs and realism. A theory is empirically adequate when everything it asserts about the observable world is true. The requirements of empirical adequacy are less demanding and more warranted than those of absolute truth, because it requires theories to make true assertions only about the observable aspects of the …show more content…
These successful theories, van Fraassen says, don’t need to be true or approximately true but they need to be empirically

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