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An answer ....

Posted by Kate on June 20, 2004

In Reply to: "What is not required is forbidden" (correction!) posted by Kate on June 20, 2004

. Van Fraassen introduces his views of rationality by drawing a distinction between the "Prussian" concept of rationality and the "English" one. According to the first, "everything is forbidden which is not explicitly permitted", while according to the second "everything is permitted that is not explicitly forbidden" ([1989], 171). Van Fraassen opts for the English conception. Accordingly ([1989], 172-3),

what it is rational to believe includes anything that one is not rationally compelled to disbelieve. And (...) the rational ways to change your opinion include any that remain within the bounds of rationality.

Let's call this van Fraassen's central dictum. In a slogan: "Rationality is only bridled irrationality" (ibid., cf. also [1983], 299).


This document is on the internet, but I can't link it here because the url includes a parenthesis... so I've clipped in the url and switched out the parentheses with [][final].doc