Noted Philosopher to Deliver Terry Lectures

Princeton University Professor of Philosophy Bas van Fraassen will deliver the Dwight H. Terry Lectures at Yale this fall.

The talks, collectively called “The Empirical Stance,” will take place on Oct. 19, 21, 26 and 28, at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. A reception will follow each lecture. All are free and open to the public.

Van Fraassen is a leading contributor to philosophical logic and the philosophy of science. He is known for his strongly empiricist arguments against influential forms of scientific realism. His Terry Lectures will consider the philosophical enterprise, incorporating both religion and science, from an empiricist point of view.

Born in the Netherlands in 1941, van Fraassen emigrated to Canada with his family in 1956. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta, he went on to a master’s and doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh.

Among van Fraassen’s books are An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space (1970), Formal Semantics and Logic (1971), The Scientific Image (1980), Laws and Symmetry (1989), and Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View (1991). He is editor of the Journal of Philosophical Logic and co-editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic.

“In these lectures I will present my very personal response to philosophy as I found it in our century, interpret to us what it is, and be very frankly partisan about what it could and can be,” he said in describing the upcoming lectures. “In every century, again we must interpret ourselves to ourselvesI Now, what we find always includes both science and religion, the secular and the spiritualPand what we transform in our reinterpretation includes the contrasts and boundaries between the two.”

On Oct. 19, van Fraassen will speak on “Against Analytic Metaphysics.” On Oct. 21, the topic will be “Empiricism as Will and Idea.” The Oct. 26 lecture is titled “Scientific Revolution/Conversion as a Philosophical Problem.” The final talk, Oct. 28, will be “What is Science -P and What is it to be Secular?”

The Dwight Terry Lectures were established in 1905 by a gift from Dwight Harrington Terry of Bridgeport, to endow a series of lectures on religion and its application to human welfare in the light of scientific knowledge and philosophical insights. The lectures are published in book form by the Yale University Press. Previous Terry Lecturers have included John Dewey, Carl Jung, Margaret Mead, Erich Fromm, Paul Tillich and Rebecca West.

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