|Philosophy of science
Pragmatism · Quantum mechanics
|Natural ontological attitude|
Before moving to UW Fine taught for many years at Northwestern University and, before that, at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy of Science Association and has for many years been on the editorial board of the journal Philosophy of Science, one of the leading publications in the field. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014.
Fine famously proposed the natural ontological attitude (NOA) as a resolution to the debates over scientific realism. "NOA is intended to comprise a neutral, common core of realist and antirealist attitudes of acceptance of our best theories. The mistake that both parties make, Fine suggests, is to add further epistemological and metaphysical diagnoses to this shared position, such as pronouncements about which aspects of scientific ontology should be viewed as real, which are proper subjects of belief, and so on."
Fine also developed one of the possible interpretations of quantum mechanics yet to be decided between and has contributed to the probabilistic understanding of Bell's Theorem. See the entry “Arthur Fine” in The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, General Editor, John R. Shook, Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2005 for a detailed biography.
In 2001, Fine gave the following re-counting of the birth of NOA and its important relationship to Bas van Fraassen's anti-realism:
The Scientific Image arrived in 1980 like a breath of fresh air. Although in the introduction van Fraassen counts me among the realist foot soldiers, at just that time Micky Forbes and I were engaged in rethinking the whole realism/antirealism issue. The result was NOA. Van Fraassen’s powerful and enlightening monograph encouraged us in that project. If Micky and I are parents of NOA, then Bas is perhaps a godfather. Paul Teller too, since he was among the people then who helped us refine our ideas as they developed.
- Fine, Arthur (2001) "The Scientific Image 20 Years Later" Philosophical Studies. p.207.
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