Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Observability: this is about the question of the limits of the observability of objects of science. See also theoretical terms, observation language, observation terms, observation sentence, existence, reality.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

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I 17
Observability/Maxwell: Thesis: there is nothing basically unobservable, because I could have had electron eyes. (> possible world) - FraassenVsMaxwell: that's just a trick. - shifting the subject: if I were a giant, I would have ... - Physics describes ultimative observable limits - N.B.: these are literally human limitations. - Observable/Maxwell: classifies suspected items - has nothing to do with existence.
I 57
Limits of observability are empirical, not philosophical.
I 57
Observability/Theory/Fractures: what is observable can be found out by examining the theory itself. - ((s)> hermeneutic circle) - Nevertheless, the observability is not theory-relative - which is an observable (= physical quantity) is theory-independent - is a function of us as organisms.
I 75
Observability/Fraassen: e.g. Darwin's missing link: was an observable entity! - e.g. elementary particles: brought their own properties. Thus there is new information which was not contained in the old theory - namely, about the nature of these unobservable entities. Instead of accepting realism here, we can assume a purely functional view.
I 197
Observability/Fraassen: there is no logical link between observability and existence. A theory as far as empirical adequacy is concerned would be just as good if nothing existed that is either unobservable or non-actual.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-20