David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (forthcoming)
At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple idea that the evidence available to us at a given time may fail to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it. In a textbook example, if I all I know is that you spent $10 on apples and oranges and that apples cost $1 while oranges cost $2, then I know that you did not buy six oranges, but I do not know whether you bought one orange and eight apples, two oranges and six apples, and so on. A simple scientific example can be found in the rationale behind the sensible methodological adage that “correlation does not imply causation”. If watching lots of cartoons causes children to be more violent in their playground behavior then we should (barring complications) expect to find a correlation between levels of cartoon viewing and violent playground behavior. But that is also what we would expect to find if children who are prone to violence tend to enjoy and seek out cartoons more than other children, or if propensities to violence and increased cartoon viewing are both caused by some third factor (like general parental neglect or excessive consumption of jellybeans). So a high correlation between cartoon viewing and violent playground behavior is evidence that (by itself) simply underdetermines what we should believe about the causal relationship between these two activities. As we will see, however, the challenge of distinguishing correlation from causation is far from the only important circumstance in which underdetermination is thought to arise in scientific inquiry.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Samir Okasha (2002). Underdetermination, Holism and the Theory/Data Distinction. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):303-319.
Ian McDiarmid (2008). Underdetermination and Meaning Indeterminacy: What is the Difference? [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 69 (3):279 - 293.
Michael J. Shaffer & Patricia Turrisi (2008). Theories of Violence and the Explanation of Ultra-Violent Behavior. In T. Levin (ed.), Violence: Mercurial Gestalt.
Robert Northcott (2005). Comparing Apples with Oranges. Analysis 65 (285):12–18.
P. Kyle Stanford (2001). Refusing the Devil's Bargain: What Kind of Underdetermination Should We Take Seriously? Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S1-.
John D. Norton (forthcoming). Must Evidence Underdetermine Theory. The Challenge of the Social and the Pressure of Practice:17--44.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (2008). Recurrent Transient Underdetermination and the Glass Half Full. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):141 - 148.
Added to index2009-03-17
Total downloads45 ( #37,080 of 1,101,604 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #117,010 of 1,101,604 )
How can I increase my downloads?