Bas van Fraassen
The Fortunes of Empiricism
Without doubt Bas C. van Fraassen is among the most distinguished and celebrated philosophers of science of our days. His fields of expertise range from logic and semantics to epistemology and philosophy of physics. Several of his monographs belong to the standard literature of these disciplines. It was already in 1980 when his The Scientific Image brilliantly entered the philosophical scene. The exposition of constructive empiricism, especially (van Fraassen's favored philosophy of science as well as his alternative to scientific realism), launched an intensive and highly controversial debate on the aim and status of science which has still not been settled.
In his Terry Lectures at Yale University (published as The Empirical Stance in 2002) Bas van Fraassen gave a comprehensive account of what he deems cogent answers to the questions of what empiricism is and what it could be. Distancing himself from the self-defeating fundamentalist projects of logical empiricism he envisaged empiricism as a stance, as opposed to a factual thesis. From his point of view, it is the recurrent rebellion against metaphysics and the admiration for science that characterizes the empiricists' stance and buttresses their philosophical arguments. It is beyond doubt that the prospects of empiricism today are intimately related to Bas van Fraassen and his work.
Andreas Berg-Hildebrand holds an M.A. degree in philosophy and now teaches in the Department of Philosophy at the University of M³nster (Germany). He is currently working on a thesis on scientific realism.
Christian Suhm received his Ph. D. in philosophy from the University of M³nster. He is now assistant professor of philosophy at the Department of Philosophy at M³nster (Germany). His main fields of research are in the philosophy of science and epistemology. At present he is working on a book on induction.
Bastiaan C. van Fraassen was born in Goes (the Netherlands), in 1941, and emigrated with his family to Canada in 1956. He attended the University of Alberta (B.A. (hon.), Philosophy, 1963), and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A. 1964; Ph. D., Philosophy, 1966). He taught at Yale University, the University of Toronto, the University of Southern California, and Princeton University. Since 1982 he is McCosh Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.