For Tarozzi the turn from verifiability to testability as a criterion of meaningfulness allowed neopositivists to embrace a non-metaphysical realism, including the mind-independence of the external world, and akin to EPR realism. Unlike them, however, he believes that there are empirically meaningful philosophical principles distinguished from both science and metaphysics. I argue that since neopositivists always retained an antirealist semantics, they never accepted mind-independence, which can’t be supported by scientific arguments alone. Besides, also metaphysics has empirical grounds, it is continuous with science, and it differs from it only for its greater generality and the inability yield novel predictions. Tarozzi proposes an original way to reconcile empiricism with realism and with an autonomous role of philosophy, and here I suggest a partly different way to achieve the same end. I agree that there are specifically philosophical doctrines, meaningful and confirmable by (partly) empirical arguments; moreover, these doctrines include claims both of referentiality and of mind-independence. In my view, however, they concern both properties and objects. I also agree that philosophical claims are subject to the tribunal of experience, just like scientific theories; more precisely, they must be able to account for experience: for instance, scientific realism explains the convergence of scientific theories and their empirical success, especially in making novel predictions. However, those philosophical doctrines which are also descriptive or factual (as opposed to prescriptive, or axiological), are typically metaphysical, and among them are various forms of realism. Therefore metaphysics cannot be distinguished from other areas of philosophy as being meaningless, but simply for its aims: offering a theoretical analysis of the most general nature and structures of reality. For instance, metaphysical realism can be justified as the best possible explanation of the determinateness of experience, its order and regularity. Like Tarozzi I also believe that philosophy (including however metaphysics) can be distinguished from science because it is not disconfirmable: but this is so more in practice than in principle. Since they account for experience, philosophical claims do have empirical consequences; so, if they should fail to be observed, those claims would be disconfirmed. But since philosophy explains only the most general features of experience, its empirical consequences have been extensively observed over and over; so, it is not practically to be expected that one day some of them be overturned by some new observation. Science, instead, accounts for particular phenomena, hence it often predicts new and unexpected phenomena, so it is actually possible, indeed quite likely, that such predictions are falsified or disconfirmed. This difference however is rather gradual, for some scientific theories and principles are in turn so general, and their connections to experience so indirect, to resemble philosophy

Neopositivism, Realism, and the Status of Philosophy

ALAI, MARIO
2014-01-01

Abstract

For Tarozzi the turn from verifiability to testability as a criterion of meaningfulness allowed neopositivists to embrace a non-metaphysical realism, including the mind-independence of the external world, and akin to EPR realism. Unlike them, however, he believes that there are empirically meaningful philosophical principles distinguished from both science and metaphysics. I argue that since neopositivists always retained an antirealist semantics, they never accepted mind-independence, which can’t be supported by scientific arguments alone. Besides, also metaphysics has empirical grounds, it is continuous with science, and it differs from it only for its greater generality and the inability yield novel predictions. Tarozzi proposes an original way to reconcile empiricism with realism and with an autonomous role of philosophy, and here I suggest a partly different way to achieve the same end. I agree that there are specifically philosophical doctrines, meaningful and confirmable by (partly) empirical arguments; moreover, these doctrines include claims both of referentiality and of mind-independence. In my view, however, they concern both properties and objects. I also agree that philosophical claims are subject to the tribunal of experience, just like scientific theories; more precisely, they must be able to account for experience: for instance, scientific realism explains the convergence of scientific theories and their empirical success, especially in making novel predictions. However, those philosophical doctrines which are also descriptive or factual (as opposed to prescriptive, or axiological), are typically metaphysical, and among them are various forms of realism. Therefore metaphysics cannot be distinguished from other areas of philosophy as being meaningless, but simply for its aims: offering a theoretical analysis of the most general nature and structures of reality. For instance, metaphysical realism can be justified as the best possible explanation of the determinateness of experience, its order and regularity. Like Tarozzi I also believe that philosophy (including however metaphysics) can be distinguished from science because it is not disconfirmable: but this is so more in practice than in principle. Since they account for experience, philosophical claims do have empirical consequences; so, if they should fail to be observed, those claims would be disconfirmed. But since philosophy explains only the most general features of experience, its empirical consequences have been extensively observed over and over; so, it is not practically to be expected that one day some of them be overturned by some new observation. Science, instead, accounts for particular phenomena, hence it often predicts new and unexpected phenomena, so it is actually possible, indeed quite likely, that such predictions are falsified or disconfirmed. This difference however is rather gradual, for some scientific theories and principles are in turn so general, and their connections to experience so indirect, to resemble philosophy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2602980
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