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Marc Alspector-Kelly
Ph.D., University of Michigan



Associate Professor | Department of Philosophy
Philosophy of Science (esp. realism/anti-realism), Empiricism, History of Philosophy of Science



Department of Philosophy
3020 Moore Hall



website | interview | marc [dot] alspector-kelly [at] wmich [dot] edu

HPS Research Interests
My research concerns the development of empiricism in the 20th century and its relationship to naturalism and the scientific realism/anti-realism debate. My dissertation and earlier work concerned the transition from Positivism (particularly Carnap) to early post-Positivism (particularly Quine). My more recent work concerns van Fraassen’s anti-realistic “Constructive Empiricist” conception of scientific methodology, in contrast to which I am formulating a naturalistic version of empiricism that involves a realist approach in the philosophy of science.

HPS Teaching Interests
I teach a course in philosophy of science, which begins with a survey of the history of astronomy and mechanics, and concentrates on philosophical views concerning scientific methodology. I also teach related courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, concerning such topics as 20th century analytic philosophy, empiricism, naturalism, realism, the theory of truth, and the a priori. I will be teaching a graduate course in the philosophy of science in the fall term of 2006.

HPS Representative Publications

"On Quine on Carnap on Ontology," Philosophical Studies Vol. 102 (January 2001), pp. 93-122.

"Should the Empiricist be a Constructive Empiricist?," Philosophy of Science Vol. 68, No. 4 (December 2001), pp. 413-431.

"Stroud's Carnap," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. 64, No. 2 (March 2002), pp. 276-302.

"The NOAer's Dilemma: Constructive Empiricism and the Natural Ontological Attitude," Canadian Journal of Philosophy Vol. 33, No. 3 (September 2003). Pp. 307-322.

"Seeing the Unobservable: van Fraassen and the Limits of Experience," Synthese Vol. 140, No. 3 (June 2004), pp. 331-353.

"Constructive Empiricism and Epistemic Modesty: Reply to Van Fraassen and Monton," Erkenntnis, in press.

"Knowledge Externalism," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, in press.

"Pretending to See," Philosophical Psychology, in press.

Marc Alspector-Kelly, Fritz Allhoff, and Tim McGrew (eds.), History of Philosophy of Science: Essential Readings with Commentary (under review, Blackwell Publishing)

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