Hidden Underdetermination: A Case Study in Classical Electrodynamics

In this article, I present a case study of underdetermination in nineteenth-century electrodynamics between a pure field theory and a formulation in terms of action at a distance. A particular focus is on the question if and how this underdetermination is eventually resolved. It turns out that after a period of overt underdetermination, during which the approaches are developed separately, the two programmes are merged. On the basis of this development, I argue that the original underdetermination survives in hidden form in ontological and methodological redundancies of the subsequent particle?field electrodynamics. Implications regarding criteria for theory choice and the realism debate are briefly addressed
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Roger Ariew & Peter Barker (1986). Duhem on Maxwell: A Case-Study in the Interrelations of History of Science and Philosophy of Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:145 - 156.

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P. D. Magnus (2005). Reckoning the Shape of Everything: Underdetermination and Cosmotopology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):541-557.

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