more from Bas C. van Fraassen

Single Idea 14917

[catalogued under 14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science]

Full Idea

Science aims to give us theories which are empirically adequate; and acceptance of a theory involves as belief only that it is empiricially adequate.

Gist of Idea

To accept a scientific theory, we only need to believe that it is empirically adequate


Bas C. van Fraassen (The Scientific Image [1980], p.12), quoted by J Ladyman / D Ross - Every Thing Must Go 2.3.1

Book Reference

Ladyman,J/Ross,D: 'Every Thing Must Go' [OUP 2007], p.95

A Reaction

This won't tell us what to do if there is a tie between two theories, and we will want to know the criteria for 'adequate'. Presumably there are theories which are empirically quite good, but not yet acceptable. Theories commit beyond experience.