International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):283 – 297 (2000)
|Abstract||Advocates of the "strong programme" in the sociology of knowledge have argued that, because scientific theories are "underdetermined" by data, sociological factors must be invoked to explain why scientists believe the theories they do. I examine this argument, and the responses to it by J.R. Brown (1989) and L. Laudan (1996). I distinguish between a number of different versions of the underdetermination thesis, some trivial, some substantive. I show that Brown's and Laudan's attempts to refute the sociologists' argument fail. Nonetheless, the sociologists' argument falls to a different criticism, for the version of the underdetermination thesis that the argument requires, has not been shown to be true.|
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