Van Fraassen And Anti-Realism

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Realists hold this argument to be a sufficient proof of their position. However, anti-realists assert that because this argument is dependent on an inference of the best explanation, it cannot be held up as a decisive proof. Moreover, the anti-realist Van Fraassen argues that by accepting theories as explanations, the authority of a theory tainted, they become nothing more than mere explanatory value. For example, Aristotle explained the descent of objects towards the ground through teleological claims about the tendencies of elements. Today, explanations of this sort would be rejected, yet Aristotle offered a reliable prediction that explained the observed phenomena. Due to this problem, Van Fraassen argues against the realist idea that science …show more content…
First he posits the argument that the “diverse phenomena” referenced in the new proposition are not all that diverse. Apparent diversity, is the result of diverse areas of science, however, the diversity in the science as a discipline doesn’t necessitate diversity in theories. Philosopher of science Carl Hempel, eloquently describes universal characteristics in theory testing: “The formulation of a theory will require the specification of two kinds of principles; let us call them internal principles and bridge principles for short. The former will characterize the basic entities and processes invoked by the theory and the laws to which they are assumed to conform. The latter will indicate how the processes envisaged by the theory are related to empirical phenomena with which we are already acquainted, and which the theory may then explain, predict, or retrodict.” (Philosophy of Natural Science pp. 72-73). These characteristics present in all theories discredits the diversity claim made by the realists. Van Fraassen doesn’t make reference to Hempel’s writing in his critique of diversity, a simple inference of Hempel’s realist affiliation, in relation to his recognition of these characteristics, weakens the arguments coercive

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