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From manifest image to Musgrave's problem: some comments on van Fraassen's epistemology

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Constructive empiricism is an attempt to reconcile what Wilfred Sellars has called our manifest and scientific images of the world. As an epistemological project, it therefore consists of a delicate balancing act between believing too much, and believing too little, of our accepted scientific theories. In this paper, I try to steer a middle course between these two extremes, responding to challenges by both Peter Lipton and Alan Musgrave respectively. I conclude with some observations of what the constructive empiricist may learn from these considerations about the nature of belief.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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