What's wrong with the problem of unconceived alternatives?

Kyle Stanford (2006) argues that the most serious and powerful challenge to scientific realism has been neglected. The problem of unconceived alternatives (PUA), as he calls it, holds that throughout history scientists have failed to conceive alternative theories roughly equally wellconfirmed (by the available evidence) to the theories of the day and, crucially, that such alternatives eventually were conceived and adopted by some section of the scientific community. PUA is a version of the argument from the underdetermination of theories by evidence (UTE) but departs from it in two significant ways: (i) there is a shift from artificially produced rival theories - of the kind typically talked about in the underdetermination debate - to actual rivals and (ii) there is a shift from empirically equivalent rivals to rivals that are equally well-confirmed by the available evidence at a given point in time. In this talk I will argue that by these shifts Stanford successfully manages to find more historical evidence for PUA (than do proponents of UTE), but only at the expense of making his thesis ineffectual.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,986
External links
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

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

50 ( #38,925 of 1,409,981 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #25,231 of 1,409,981 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.