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Alexander Bird (Cambridge): “Against Empiricism”

30 March 2021, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

This event will take place online via Zoom. 

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AbstractMost philosophers of science are realists. Most philosophers of science are, at least implicitly, empiricists. But, I argue, it is not reasonable to be both an empiricist and a realist, because empiricism is motivated by epistemological internalism and realism requires the rejection of internalism. Nor is instrumentalism a reasonable position. So an empiricist should be an outright sceptic about science. Conversely, someone who wishes to have a positive attitude to at least some parts of science, should not be an empiricist. I conclude by pointing out that scientific practice is at least prima facie inconsistent with empiricism.

Alexander Bird is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.


30 March 2021
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


Online via Zoom