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A Case for Old-Fashioned Observability, and a Reconstructed Constructive Empiricism

Chang, Hasok (2004) A Case for Old-Fashioned Observability, and a Reconstructed Constructive Empiricism. In: [2004] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 19th Biennial Meeting - PSA2004: Contributed Papers (Austin, TX; 2004) > PSA 2004 Contributed Papers. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    I develop a concept of observability that pertains to qualities rather than objects: a quality is observable if it can be registered by human sensation (possibly with the aid of instruments) without involving optional interpretations. This concept supports a better description of observations in science and everyday life than the object-based observability concepts presupposing causal information-transfer from the object to the observer. It also allows a rehabilitation of the traditional empiricist distinction between observations and their interpretations, but without a presumption that observations are infallible. Using this concept of observability, I also propose a re-formulation of constructive empiricism that is easier to defend against realist attacks, while open to reasonable realist intuitions.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: observability, observation, constructive empiricism, van Fraassen
    Subjects: General Issues > Theory/Observation
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Conferences and Volumes: [2004] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 19th Biennial Meeting - PSA2004: Contributed Papers (Austin, TX; 2004) > PSA 2004 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Hasok Chang
    Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2004
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:13
    Item ID: 2122
    Public Domain: No
    Conference Date: November 2004
    Conference Location: Austin, Texas
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2122

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