Notes to Underdetermination of Scientific Theory 1. I then argue that the vulnerability is rooted in a theoretical commitment tacitly shared with Quine, namely, the commitment to Duhem’s and Quine’s holistic theses, when properly understood, allow methodologically responsible ways of resolving a conflict between a theoretical system and experience; they only deny the possibility of doing it in an epistemically persuasive way. As we add further data to our initial set we will definitively eliminate functions describing curves which no longer capture all of the data points in the new, larger set, but no matter how much data we accumulate, the proof guarantees that there will always be an infinite number of functions remaining that define curves including all the data points in the new set and which would therefore seem to be equally well supported by the empirical evidence. In this dissertation, I address these shortcomings and show how and what kind of experimental knowledge fNI can reliably produce which would be theoretically significant.

Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 , 2nd edition, Cambridge: No logical necessity pressed Maxwell to imagine a new electrodynamics. Indeed, the debate is very much alive, with many recent articles devoted to the topic. This dissertation shows, contrary to Duhem’s thesis, that it is sometimes possible for scientists to perform crucial experiments and that those experiments follow the logic of a crucial experiment. Logical Empiricism in 20th Century Philosophy. Kusch, Martin, , Knowledge by Agreement:

Using PhilPapers from home? Citing Pascal, Duhem tells us that truth requires both reason and argument— raison and raisonnement.

Following Quine, naturalism is usually taken to be the philosophical doctrine that there is no first philosophy and that the philosophical enterprise is continuous with the scientific enterprise Quine b.

From this and similar examples, Duhem drew the quite general conclusion that our response to the experimental or observational falsification of a theory is always underdetermined in this way. This primary Duhemian theme is actually combined with a secondary theme – normativity. This explains why mathematics can be used in science but it does not explain why it is used. Back to Duhem Although it is also a form of underdetermination, what we described in Section 1 above as contrastive underdetermination raises fundamentally different issues from the holist variety considered in Section 2 Bonk is a book-length treatment of many of these issues.


Pierre Duhem (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Laudan usefully distinguishes a number of different dimensions along which claims of underdetermination vary in strength, and he goes on to insist that those who attribute dramatic significance to the thesis that our scientific theories are underdetermined by the evidence invariably defend only the weaker versions of that thesis, while qhine go on to draw dire syanford and shocking morals regarding the character and status of the scientific enterprise from much stronger versions.

Dhuem are other examples of alleged mathematical explanations in the literature but this remains the most widely discussed and is something of a poster child for mathematical explanation. This analysis has found great favor on the side of many Pragmatists. The minor issue having escalated to immense proportions, Duhem requested and received a change of positions at the end of academic year stanfogd What explains this success?

This recognition makes clear why it will be extremely difficult to say how the shift to an alternative web of belief with alternative ampliative or even deductive principles of belief revision should or even can be evaluated for its rational defensibility—each proposed revision will be maximally rational by the lights of the principles it itself sanctions.

quine duhem thesis stanford

These tomes impart an enormous amount of information about medieval astronomy, astrology, tidal theory, and geostatics, again presenting many sources for the first time in the modern era.

What reason is there to think, for instance, that simplicity is an indicator of truth? On this picture, empirical reality is structured by scientific paradigms, and this conflicts with the commitment of realism to knowledge of a mind-independent world. It seems that thhesis indispensability argument only justifies belief in enough mathematics to serve the needs of science.

quine duhem thesis stanford

Roughly speaking, confirmation is the act of using evidence or reason to verify or certify that a statement is true, definite, or approximately true, whereas falsification is the act of classifying a statement as false in the light of observation reports. Because the boundaries stanfore what is observable change as we develop new experimental methods and instruments, because auxiliary assumptions are always needed to derive empirical consequences from a theory cf.

Underdetermination of Scientific Theory

After the death of his parents, Pierre-Joseph was forced to discontinue his studies with the Jesuits in order to provide for the family. As expected, he covered seventeenth-century statics, but he also returned to the middle ages, spending four chapters on geostatics, including the work of Albert of Saxony in the fourteenth century. The distinction here between the observable and the unobservable reflects human sensory capabilities: Liber Amicorum Pascal EngelGeneva: In this perspective, EU theorists were justified in resisting the first attempts at refuting their theory, including Allais’s in the 50s, but they would have lacked “bon sens” in not acknowledging their defeat in the 80s, after the long process of pros and cons had sufficiently matured.


Yet this very deviation from the norm of universalism actually presupposed the legitimacy of the norm. This classic work in the philosophy of physical science is an incisive and readable account of the scientific method.

Another way to think about scientific realism is in terms of the epistemic aims of scientific inquiry van Fraassen Quine claims that holism i. Gerlach experiment and the role of fundamental physical constants shows, however, that localisation is not only possible but essential for the validity of scientific theories.

Here is where the debate over the indispensability argument took an interesting turn.

Scientific Realism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Bayesian Reasoning, Misc in Philosophy of Probability. When the world does not live up to our theory-grounded expectations, we tsanford give up somethingbut because no hypothesis is stancord tested in isolation, no experiment ever tells us precisely which belief it is that we must revise or give up as mistaken:. Vicaire raised an important point for turn-of-the-century Catholics because the Church was officially committed to neo-Thomism, with its generally rationalist apologetics see Martinchap.

I have rhesis from discussing both the organization and content of this article with many people including audiences and participants at the Pittsburgh Workshop on Underdetermination and the Southern California Philosophers of Science retreat, as well as the participants in graduate seminars both at UC Irvine and Pittsburgh.

quine duhem thesis stanford

Whewell, William,History of the Inductive Sciencesthird edition new impression with indexLondon:

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