We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Why be hanged for even a lamb?

Cartwright, N. (2008) 'Why be hanged for even a lamb?', in Images of empiricism. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 32-45. Mind Association Occasional Series.


This chapter examines van Fraassen's motivation for restricting his scientific theoretical commitments to claims about observables. Many critics have argued that the observable/unobservable distinction van Fraassen draws on is either an illegitimate distinction, or can't play the important philosophical role van Fraassen wants it to. The importance of this distinction is discussed. It is argued that what we fundamentally care about is what we will experience under the possible courses of action open to us, and hence we have a (non-epistemic) reason to try to control what we experience. This gives us special reason to form beliefs about what we are capable of observing.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:January 2008
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar