L'empirisme modal

Abstract : The aim of this thesis dissertation is to propose a novel position in the debate on scientific realism, modal empiricism, and to show its fruitfulness when it comes to interpreting the cognitive content of scientific theories. Modal empiricism is an empiricist position, according to which the aim of science is to produce empirically adequate theories rather than true theories. However, it suggests adopting a broader comprehension of experience than traditional versions of empiricism, through a commitment to natural modalities. Following modal empiricism, there are possibilities in nature, and constraints on what is possible, and a theory is empirically adequate if it correctly delimits the range of possible experiences. The position rests on a situated and pragmatic conception of natural modalities and of empirical confrontation. We claim that it can do justice to the empirical success of science, while not falling prey to the problem of theory change that undermines scientific realism. We explain how constraints of necessity on phenomena can be known by induction, and how this modal epistemology fits with scientific practice. Finally, we claim that a commitment to natural modalities allows for a rich interpretation of the cognitive content of theories. Modal empiricism could renew some metaphysical debates within a pragmatist framework, by tying them to experience and not being constrained by realist prejudices.
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Quentin Ruyant. L'empirisme modal. Philosophie. Université Rennes 1; Université catholique de Louvain (1970-..), 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017REN1S117⟩. ⟨tel-01792453⟩

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