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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 11, pp 3019–3039 | Cite as

Defending stance voluntarism

  • Jamee ElderEmail author
Article
  • 122 Downloads

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that stance voluntarism is a coherent and useful view for understanding debates about the ontological commitments warranted by science. To do so, I first engage in a defensive move: I rescue stance voluntarism from what I take to be the most pressing objection to have emerged in recent literature, which I call the ‘irrationality objection’. According to this objection, an agent courts irrationality by simultaneously holding an epistemic stance and believing that stance voluntarism is true. I argue that this objection is based on a misunderstanding of stance voluntarism and the kinds of reasons that agents take themselves to have for their adopted stances. I then make the positive contention that we can expect the idea of stance voluntarism, thus saved, to not only be a defensible, but also a useful framework for understanding ontological disputes within science. I do this by presenting a case study from contemporary cosmology in which it is so. Combining these two claims, I argue that stance voluntarism is a coherent and useful view for understanding some ongoing disputes about ontology within scientific contexts.

Keywords

Stance voluntarism Epistemic stances Empiricism Scientific rationality Scientific ontology Cosmology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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