Graduate studies at Western
Synthese 187 (2):673-692 (2012)
|Abstract||The Duhem-Quine Thesis is the claim that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation because any empirical test requires assuming the truth of one or more auxiliary hypotheses. This is taken by many philosophers, and is assumed here, to support the further thesis that theory choice is underdetermined by empirical evidence. This inquiry is focused strictly on the axiological commitments engendered in solutions to underdetermination, specifically those of Pierre Duhem and W. V. Quine. Duhem resolves underdetermination by appealing to a cluster of virtues called 'good sense', and it has recently been argued by Stump (Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sei, 18(1):149-159,2007) that good sense is a form of virtue epistemology. This paper considers whether Quine, who's philosophy is heavily influenced by the very thesis that led Duhem to the virtues, is also led to a virtue epistemology in the face of underdetermination. Various sources of Quinian epistemic normativity are considered, and it is argued that, in conjunction with other normative commitments, Quine's sectarian solution to underdetermination amounts to a skills based virtue epistemology. The paper also sketches formal features of the novel form of virtue epistemology common to Duhem and Quine that challenges the adequacy of epistemic value truth-monism and blocks any imperialist naturalization of virtue epistemology, as the epistemic virtues are essential to the success of the sciences themselves|
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