Expanding the Empirical Realm: Constructive Empiricism and Augmented Observation

In Michael Frauchiger (ed.), Themes from van Fraassen (Lauener Library of Analytical Philosophy). De Gruyter (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Manifestationalism holds that science aims only to give us theories that are correct about what has been observed thus far. Several philosophers, including Bas van Fraassen, have argued that manifestationalism cannot make sense of the scientific impetus to make new observations, since such observations only risk turning manifestationally adequate theories into inadequate ones. This paper argues that a strikingly similar objection applies to van Fraassen’s own constructive empiricism, the view that science aims only to find theories that are empirically adequate. Roughly, the objection is that constructive empiricism cannot make sense of the scientific impetus to expand the limits of what can be observed, since such expansions only risk turning empirically adequate theories into inadequate ones.
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