Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Subscribe now for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Seeing the Unobservable: Van Fraassen and the Limits of Experience

Seeing the Unobservable: Van Fraassen and the Limits of Experience Van Fraassen maintains that the information that we canglean from experience is limited to those entities and processes that are detectable bymeans of our unaided senses. His challenge to the realist, I suggest, is that the attemptto inferentially transcend those limits amounts to a reversion to rationalism. Under pressurefrom such examples as microscopic observation, he has recently widened the scope of thephenomena to include object-like experiences without empirical objects of experience.With this change in mind, I argue that van Fraassen needs an account of perception whoseconsequence is that we can only see what we see with the unaided eye. I then argue thatreflection on the epistemically significant aspects of the perceptual process rendersvan Fraassen's characterization of the limits of experience implausible; technologicallyenhanced perception brings ``unobservables'' within those limits. An empiricismthat is compatible with realism results. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Synthese Springer Journals

Seeing the Unobservable: Van Fraassen and the Limits of Experience

Synthese , Volume 140 (3) – Oct 2, 2004

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer-journals/seeing-the-unobservable-van-fraassen-and-the-limits-of-experience-4dZfbQSeSR

References (27)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; Epistemology; Logic; Philosophy of Language; Metaphysics
ISSN
0039-7857
eISSN
1573-0964
DOI
10.1023/B:SYNT.0000031323.19904.45
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Van Fraassen maintains that the information that we canglean from experience is limited to those entities and processes that are detectable bymeans of our unaided senses. His challenge to the realist, I suggest, is that the attemptto inferentially transcend those limits amounts to a reversion to rationalism. Under pressurefrom such examples as microscopic observation, he has recently widened the scope of thephenomena to include object-like experiences without empirical objects of experience.With this change in mind, I argue that van Fraassen needs an account of perception whoseconsequence is that we can only see what we see with the unaided eye. I then argue thatreflection on the epistemically significant aspects of the perceptual process rendersvan Fraassen's characterization of the limits of experience implausible; technologicallyenhanced perception brings ``unobservables'' within those limits. An empiricismthat is compatible with realism results.

Journal

SyntheseSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 2, 2004

There are no references for this article.