David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):303-319 (2002)
I examine the argument that scientific theories are typically 'underdetermined' by the data, an argument which has often been used to combat scientific realism. I deal with two objections to the underdetermination argument: (i) that the argument conflicts with the holistic nature of confirmation, and (ii) that the argument rests on an untenable theory/data dualism. I discuss possible responses to both objections, and argue that in both cases the proponent of underdetermination can respond in ways which are individually plausible, but that the best response to the first objection conflicts with the best response to the second. Consequently underdetermination poses less of a problem for scientific realism than has often been thought
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References found in this work BETA
Yemima Ben-Menahem (1990). Equivalent Descriptions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 41 (2):261-279.
Lars Bergström (1993). Quine, Underdetermination, and Skepticism. Journal of Philosophy 60 (7):331-358.
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Paul M. Churchland (1979). Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1954). The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Charlotte Werndl (2013). On Choosing Between Deterministic and Indeterministic Models: Underdetermination and Indirect Evidence. Synthese 190 (12):2243-2265.
Sorin Bangu (2006). Underdetermination and the Argument From Indirect Confirmation. Ratio 19 (3):269–277.
Rogério Passos Severo (2008). “Plausible Insofar as It is Intelligible”: Quine on Underdetermination. Synthese 161 (1):141 - 165.
Charlotte Werndl (2012). Evidence for the Deterministic or the Indeterministic Description? A Critique of the Literature About Classical Dynamical Systems. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):295-312.
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