Holism a century ago: The elaboration of Duhem's thesis

Synthese 83 (3):325 - 335 (1990)
Abstract
Duhem first expounds the holistic thesis, according to which an experimental test always involves several hypotheses, in articles dating from the 1890s. Poincaré's analysis of a recent experiment in optics provides the incentive, but Duhem generalizes this analysis and develops a highly original methodological position. He is led to reject inductivism. I will endeavor to show the crucial role history of science comes to play in the development of Duhem's holism.
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