•  589
    It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actuall…Read more
  •  356
    Recent years saw the rise of an interest in the roles and significance of thought experiments in different areas of human thinking. Heisenberg's gamma ray microscope is no doubt one of the most famous examples of a thought experiment in physics. Nevertheless, this particular thought experiment has not received much detailed attention in the philosophical literature on thought experiments up to date, maybe because of its often claimed inadequacies. In this paper, I try to do two things: to provid…Read more
  •  353
    The Paradox of Conceptual Novelty and Galileo’s Use of Experiments
    Philosophy of Science 72 (5): 864-875. 2004.
    Starting with a discussion of what I call Koyré’s paradox of conceptual novelty, I introduce the ideas of Damerow et al. on the establishment of classical mechanics in Galileo’s work. I then argue that although the view of Damerow et al. on the nature of Galileo’s conceptual innovation is convincing, it misses an essential element: Galileo’s use of the experiments described in the first day of the Two New Sciences. I describe these experiments and analyze their function. Central to my analysis i…Read more
  •  251
    On the epistemological foundations of the law of the lever
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (3): 315-318. 2009.
    In this paper I challenge Paolo Palmieri’s reading of the Mach-Vailati debate on Archimedes’s proof of the law of the lever. I argue that the actual import of the debate concerns the possible epistemic (as opposed to merely pragmatic) role of mathematical arguments in empirical physics, and that construed in this light Vailati carries the upper hand. This claim is defended by showing that Archimedes’s proof of the law of the lever is not a way of appealing to a non-empirical source of informatio…Read more
  •  246
    Dynamics of reason and the Kantian project
    Philosophy of Science 76 (5): 689-700. 2009.
    I show why Michael Friedman’s idea that we should view new constitutive frameworks introduced in paradigm change as members of a convergent series introduces an uncomfortable tension in his views. It cannot be justified on realist grounds, as this would compromise his Kantian perspective, but his own appeal to a Kantian regulative ideal of reason cannot do the job either. I then explain a way to make better sense of the rationality of paradigm change on what I take to be Friedman’s own terms.
  •  119
    Script and Symbolic Writing in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
    Foundations of Science 19 (1): 1-10. 2014.
    We introduce the question whether there are specific kinds of writing modalities and practices that facilitated the development of modern science and mathematics. We point out the importance and uniqueness of symbolic writing, which allowed early modern thinkers to formulate a new kind of questions about mathematical structure, rather than to merely exploit this structure for solving particular problems. In a very similar vein, the novel focus on abstract structural relations allowed for creativ…Read more
  •  76
    Unification and explanation
    with Erik Weber
    Synthese 131 (1). 2002.
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examinethe relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand,claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanationis unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem:explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation(e.g., causal explanation) are required;…Read more
  •  60
    The Practical Value of Spurious Correlations: Selective versus Manipulative Policy
    with Bert Leuridan and Erik Weber
    Analysis 68 (4). 2008.
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common cause, viz. atmospheric conditions). In Sectio…Read more
  •  42
    Rationally evaluating inconsistent theories
    with Erik Weber
    Philosophica 86. 2012.
  •  37
    The debate between realism and antirealism has been central in the general philosophy of science of the last decades. But ever since the heydays of the debate in the 1980s, there have been authors who have tried to argue for the overcoming or dissolution of the debate itself, by proposing a position that is neither realist nor antirealist. Prominent among these is Joseph Rouse (Rouse 1987). Yet, Jeff Kochan has recently argued that Rouse, despite his efforts to transcend the realism/antirealism …Read more
  •  26
    According to a widely shared view, Bas van Fraassen is one of the main proponents of the argument from underdetermination. I argue that this opinion rests on a misreading of the Scientific Image. Van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence has been widely misunderstood. I offer a reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should be interpreted. This h…Read more
  •  13
    In this article we criticize two recent articles that examine the relation between explanation and unification. Halonen and Hintikka (1999), on the one hand, claim that no unification is explanation. Schurz (1999), on the other hand, claims that all explanation is unification. We give counterexamples to both claims. We propose a pluralistic approach to the problem: explanation sometimes consists in unification, but in other cases different kinds of explanation (e.g., causal explanation) are requ…Read more
  •  10
    In the past 25 years, many philosophers have endorsed the view that the practical value of causal knowledge lies in the fact that manipulation of causes is a good way to bring about a desired change in the effect. This view is intuitively very plausible. For instance, we can predict a storm on the basis of a barometer reading, but we cannot avoid the storm by manipulating the state of the barometer (barometer status and storm are effects of a common cause, viz. atmospheric conditions). In §1 we …Read more
  •  8
    Machiel Karskens . Foucault. Amsterdam/ Leuven: Boom/Lannoo Campus, 145 pp., 16,90 €
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 105 (1): 59-60. 2013.
  •  7
    Redactioneel
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 107 (2): 123-123. 2015.
  •  5
    Idealization and Galileo’s Proto-Inertial Principle
    Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 919-929. 2018.
    Galileo proposed what has been called a proto-inertial principle, according to which a body un horizontal motion will conserve its motion. This statement is only true in counterfactual circumstances where no impediments are present. This paper analyzes how Galileo could have been justified in ascribing definite properties to this idealized motion. This analysis is then used to better understand the relation of Galileo’s proto-inertial principle to the classical inertial principle.
  •  5
    Helen Hattab, Descartes on Forms and Mechanisms (review)
    Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (1): 157-161. 2011.