Two dogmas of neo-empiricism: The "theory-informity" of observation and the Quine-Duhem thesis

Philosophy of Science 57 (4):553-574 (1990)
Abstract
It is argued that neither the "theory-informity" of observations nor the Quine-Duhem thesis pose any in principle threat to the objectivity of theory evaluation. The employment of exploratory theories does not generate incommensurability, but on the contrary is responsible for the mensurability and commensurability of explanatory theories, since exploratory theories enable scientists to make observations which are critical in the evaluation of explanatory theories. The employment of exploratory theories and other auxiliary hypotheses does not enable a theory to always accommodate recalcitrant observations to preserve evidential equivalence with a rival theory. Explanatory theories become rapidly degenerating if exploratory theories or other auxiliary hypotheses which inform the original confirmation base are modified to accommodate recalcitrant observations
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DOI 10.1086/289579
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Harold I. Brown (2005). Incommensurability Reconsidered. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1):149-169.
Harold I. Brown (1995). Empirical Testing. Inquiry 38 (4):353 – 399.

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