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Bas van Fraassen

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, San Francisco State University; McCosh Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Princeton University

Bas C. van Fraassen is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University and the McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University. He teaches courses in the philosophy of science, philosophical logic and the role of models in scientific practice.

Van Fraassen earned his BA from the University of Alberta and his MA and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He previously taught at Yale University, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Toronto and Princeton University. He coined the term “constructive empiricism” in his 1980 book The Scientific Image, in which he argued for agnosticism about the reality of unobservable entities. In 1986, van Fraassen received the Lakatos Award for his contributions to the philosophy of science and, in 2012, the Philosophy of Science Association’s inaugural Hempel Award for lifetime achievement in philosophy of science.

Van Fraassen is one of the founders of the Kira Institute. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; an overseas member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the Académie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences (“International Academy of the Philosophy of Science”).


Topic Series


The Empirical Stance (The Terry Lectures Series)

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Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective

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