Hempel Award Recipients
2012 Hempel Award
The inaugural, 2012 Hempel Award was presented to Bas C. van Fraassen at the Twenty-Fourth Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Bas van Fraassen, the McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, is the chief architect of modern empiricism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In four volumes — The Scientific Image (1980) (co-recipient of the 1986 Lakatos Award), Laws and Symmetry (1989), The Empirical Stance (2002), Scientific Representation (2008) — and dozens of articles, van Fraassen has produced a systematic account of science, constructive empiricism, which advocates a semantic approach to scientific theories and, on that basis, urges skepticism regarding laws of nature, anti-realism regarding unobservables, and pragmatism regarding explanation. In the three decades since its introduction, constructive empiricism has emerged both as a locus of outstanding scholarship in the philosophy of science and as an intellectual monument to Professor van Fraassen's exceptional philosophical insight, clarity and creativity. Professor van Fraassen has also made foundational contributions to subfields within the philosophy of science, in many cases not merely shaping these areas of research but helping to form them. This will be most evident to contemporary philosophers of physics, many of whom were introduced to the field by van Fraassen's An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space (1970), and who almost certainly have his Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View (1991) on the shelf as well. But something similar is true for several other fields, notably the philosophy of probability and the philosophy of logic. Where van Fraassen has focused his attention, the invariable result has been a clearer and deeper understanding of the issues for all. Professor van Fraassen is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served as President of the Philosophy of Science Association, editor of the Journal of Philosophical Logic, and co-editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic. In recognition of Professor van Fraassen's record of scholarly achievement and service in the philosophy of science, and in light of the great intellectual energy, generosity, egalitarianism and kindness that he brought to the philosophy of science (including, especially, his mentoring of graduate students and junior scholars in philosophy of science) the Governing Board of the PSA congratulates Professor van Fraassen on the occasion of the inaugural Hempel Award. At the invitation of the Governing Board, Carl Hempel's children, Miranda and Peter Hempel, presented this inaugural Hempel award prior to the PSA Presidential Address at PSA2012 in San Diego, California, November 15-17, 2012.