David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Inquiry 48 (1):26 – 37 (2005)
There are two ways that we might respond to the underdetermination of theory by data. One response, which we can call the agnostic response, is to suspend judgment: "Where scientific standards cannot guide us, we should believe nothing". Another response, which we can call the fideist response, is to believe whatever we would like to believe: "If science cannot speak to the question, then we may believe anything without science ever contradicting us". C.S. Peirce recognized these options and suggested evading the dilemma. It is a Logical Maxim, he suggests, that there could be no genuine underdetermination. This is no longer a viable option in the wake of developments in modern physics, so we must face the dilemma head on. The agnostic and fideist responses to underdetermination represent fundamentally different epistemic viewpoints. Nevertheless, the choice between them is not an unresolvable struggle between incommensurable worldviews. There are legitimate considerations tugging in each direction. Given the balance of these considerations, there should be a modest presumption of agnosticism. This may conflict with Peirce's Logical Maxim, but it preserves all that we can preserve of the Peircean motivation.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1954). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Christopher Hookway (2000). Truth, Rationality, and Pragmatism: Themes From Peirce. Oxford University Press.
William James (1948). Essays in Pragmatism. New York, Hafner Pub. Co..
P. D. Magnus (2010). Inductions, Red Herrings, and the Best Explanation for the Mixed Record of Science. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):803-819.
Charles S. Peirce (1997). Pragmatism as a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: The 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism. State University of New York Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Herman C. D. G. De Regt (1999). Peirce's Pragmatism, Scientific Realism, and the Problem of Underdetermination. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 35 (2):374 - 397.
Ward E. Jones (2000). Underdetermination and the Explanation of Theory-Acceptance: A Response to Samir Okasha. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):299 – 304.
P. D. Magnus (2003). Underdetermination and the Problem of Identical Rivals. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1256-1264.
Greg Frost-Arnold & P. D. Magnus (2010). The Identical Rivals Response to Underdetermination. In P. D. Magnus Jacob Busch (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Science. Palgrave Macmillan.
Wolfgang Pietsch (2012). Defending Underdetermination or Why the Historical Perspective Makes a Difference. In. In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer. 303--313.
Seungbae Park (2009). Philosophical Responses to Underdetermination in Science. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (1):115 - 124.
Samir Okasha (2002). Underdetermination, Holism and the Theory/Data Distinction. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):303-319.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads66 ( #22,777 of 1,102,972 )
Recent downloads (6 months)31 ( #3,637 of 1,102,972 )
How can I increase my downloads?