The realism that Duhem rejected in copernicus

Synthese 83 (2):301 - 315 (1990)
Pierre Duhem rejected unambiguously the strong version of realism that he believed was held by Copernicus. In fact, although Copernicus believed that his theory was clearly superior to Ptolemy's, he seems to have recognized that his theory was at best only approximately true. Accordingly, he recognized that his arguments were not demonstrative in the traditional sense but probable and persuasive. Duhem regarded even the belief in probably true explanations as misguided. Nevertheless, Duhem recognized that, even if metaphysical intuition does not enter into the content of physical theories, the rejection of hypotheses could be explained only by appeal to common sense. Hence, Duhem held a qualified instrumentalism according to which physical theories are not realist, but the terms of ordinary experience and empirical laws are realist. Accordingly, Duhem rejected the complete subordination of science to philosophy as well as the complete separation of science from philosophy. Duhem's history of cosmological doctrines reflects his belief in the origin of the subordination of science to philosophy and of the struggle to achieve the proper balance without being driven to the opposite extreme of their complete separation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00413763
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Roger Ariew (1984). The Duhem Thesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):313-325.
G. E. R. Lloyd (1978). Saving the Appearances. Classical Quarterly 28 (01):202-.
G. H. Merrill (1980). Three Forms of Realism. American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (3):229 - 235.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

70 ( #48,561 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #289,836 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.