By Clifford Alan Hooker
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Thus one must face each theory with a degree of critical or sceptical distrusta generalized agnosticism is the order of the day. Let us face his bogey right here. According to the Realist, every time one does serious science one sticks one's philosophical and scientific neck out, one runs the risk of being wrong (without, I think, knowing what the odds of error are). It is no use pointing to that conclusion expecting the Realist to capitulate in horror and stomach ulcers once it is clear how wide the scope of his agnosticism must be.
Surface Dazzle, Ghostly Depths: An Exposition and Critical Evaluation of van Fraassen's Vindication of Empiricism Against Realism 155 Chapter 7. Understanding and Control: An Essay on the Structural Dynamics of Human Cognition 191 Chapter 8. Evolutionary Naturalist Realism: Circa 1985 255 Notes 359 Bibliography 441 Index of Names 469 Subject Index 475 Permissions Six of the eight essays in this volume have first appeared elsewhere in print. Permission to reprint these essays here is gratefully acknowledged.
What the Realist may assent to (this Realist would anyway) is that knowledge does demand simple truth, and then claims to knowledge can still only be tentatively accepted. For Realism, knowledge does not turn out to be a very important categoryand sure to certain knowledge a completely insignificant category the interesting category is tentative knowledge and conjecture. , the ability to transcend sensory experience), but actually it expresses a natural agnostic modesty which flows precisely from taking man's ability to theorize seriously.