History of Science in General Philosophy of Science. If we consider any finite group of data points, an elementary proof reveals that there are an infinite number of distinct mathematical functions describing different curves that will pass through all of them. According to this interpretation, Duhem’s thesis is different Finally, I outline an evolutionary criticism of inductive Bayesian approaches based on my assumption of doxastic involuntarism. Another reaction has been to investigate whether particular kinds of theories or domains of science e. Sociology of Science in General Philosophy of Science. Cambridge University Press, pp.

But his straightforward appeal to further epistemic resources like ampliative principles of belief revision that are supposed to help narrow the merely logical possibilities down to those which are reasonable or rationally defensible is itself problematic, at least as part of any attempt to respond to Quine. Specified underdetermination clearly delimits the extent of underdetermination on a case by case basis and so provides a means for adjudicating between philosophers’ and sociologists’ claims about the extent of underdetermination and the importance of epistemic factors in scientific judgements. I conclude by suggesting that the solution to Quine’s indeterminacy problem hinges on the elaboration of an intensional theory of perceptual input, and of content in general. Even if a sharp distinction between observable and unobservable entities were granted though it is by no means obvious that it should , this selective inductive underdetermination has a bite only if the methods that lead to, and warrant, belief in observable entities and observational generalizations are different from the methods that lead to, and warrant, belief in theories that posit unobservable entities. Quine recognized, of course, that many of the logically possible ways of revising our beliefs in response to recalcitrant experiences that remain open to us strike us as ad hoc, perfectly ridiculous, or worse.

I explain why the claim is false. One is to argue rather implausibly that some theoretical virtues are constitutive marks of truth.

Duhem–Quine thesis – Wikipedia

In an influential discussion, Larry Laudan and Jarrett Leplin argue that philosophers of science have invested even the bare possibility that our theories might have empirical equivalents with far too much epistemic significance. So even if two theories are empirically equivalent at a given time this is no guarantee that they will remain so, and thus there is no foundation for a general pessimism about our ability to distinguish theories that are empirically equivalent to each other on empirical grounds.


duhem quine thesis underdetermination

Quine or in a more restricted form associated with Pierre Duhem. Such radically skeptical scenarios pose an equally powerful or powerless challenge to any knowledge claim whatsoever, no matter how it is arrived at or justified, and thus pose no special problem or challenge for beliefs offered to us by theoretical science.

Underdetermination of Scientific Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

R and S are synonymous iff for all underdetermjnation T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Most thinkers of any degree of sobriety allow, that an hypothesis Finally, I outline an evolutionary criticism of inductive Bayesian approaches based on my assumption of doxastic involuntarism.

Utility in Philosophy of Action. There is a battery of such arguments, but they may be classified under two types.

No particular experiences are linked with any particular statements in the interior of the field, except indirectly through considerations of equilibrium affecting the field as a whole. However, the traditional locus classicus for underdetermination in science is the work of Pierre Duhem, a French physicist as well as historian and philosopher of science who lived at the turn of the 20 th Century. University of Minnesota Press, pp. Other Internet Resources underdetermijation contact the author with suggestions.

From my historical study, things did not evolve in this way, and the theory was both proposed and rebutted on the basis of normative arguments already in the s. Quine suggested that such challenges applied not only to the confirmation of all types of scientific theories, but to all knowledge claims whatsoever, and his incorporation and further development of these problems as part of a general account of human knowledge was one of the most significant developments of 20 th Century epistemology.

Greenwood finds this interpretation implausible because some adjustments to auxiliary hypotheses undermine too The second part deals with nine versions of Duhem’s problem found in typical theories such that those cannot be solved within scopes of their theories.

And the primary reason we undervetermination believe that there are, he claims, is the long history of repeated transient underdetermination by previously unconceived alternatives across the course of scientific inquiry. Since theories entail observational consequences only with the aid of underddetermination assumptions, and since the available auxiliary assumptions may change over time, the set of observational consequences of a theory is not circumscribed once and for all.


Science and Values RevisitedM.


I show how the ES notions of severe tests and error probabilities can be applied unferdetermination epistemological analyses of fMRI. It is primarily an epistemic thesis about the relation between evidence and theory, though in Quine’s case it also has semantic overtones connected with his rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction.

duhem quine thesis underdetermination

Restrictions online only open access only published only Viewing options. However, it would be folly to think that deductive underdetermination creates a genuine epistemic problem. To put the point another way, if we believe a given scientific theory when one of the empirical equivalents we could generate from it by the local algorithmic strategy is correct instead, most of what we originally believed will nonetheless turn out to be straightforwardly true.

Indeterminacy in Philosophy of Language. Underdetermination actually comes in a wide variety of strengths, he insists, depending on precisely what is being asserted about the character, the availability, and most importantly the rational defensibility of the various competing hypotheses or ways of revising our beliefs that the evidence supposedly leaves us free to accept. University of Chicago Press, 3 rd edition. The central question, he argues, is whether we should believe that there are well confirmed alternatives to our best scientific theories that are presently unconceived by us.

Contrary to the intentions of its authors, the fundamental lesson taught by the assay sensitivity argument is Duhemian: I also claim that Allais had an intuition of how to combine testability and normativity, unlike most later experimenters, and that it would have been more fruitful to work from his intuition than to make choice experiments of the naively empirical style that flourished after him.

duhem quine thesis underdetermination

Pragmatism debate in the philosophies of thesocial sciences. Or, to change the figure, total science is quiine a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience. But, it is added, how can prior probabilities have any epistemic force?

A starting point is to detail how laboratory evaluations of economic hypotheses constitute composite tests.