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A traditional view is that to be an empiricist is to hold a particular epistemological belief: something to the effect that knowledge must derive from experience. In his recent book The Empirical Stance, and in a number of other publications, Bas van Fraassen has disagreed, arguing that if empiricism is to be defensible it must instead be thought of as a stance: an attitude of mind or methodological orientation rather than a factual belief. In this article I will examine his arguments for this claim in detail. I will argue that they do not succeed and that empiricism is, contrary to van Fraassen's claim, better thought of as a truth-evaluable doctrine than as a stance.
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Keywords: analyticity; empiricism; explanation; metaphysics; voluntarism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 9SW Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS, United Kingdom, Email:

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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