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Why be Hanged for Even a Lamb?

Cartwright, N.



B. Monton


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.


Cartwright, N. (2008). Why be Hanged for Even a Lamb?. In B. Monton (Ed.), Images of empiricism (32-45). Oxford University Press.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2008
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2015
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 32-45
Series Title Mind Association Occasional Series
Book Title Images of empiricism.