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  1. added 2019-02-01
    Kuhn’s Two Accounts of Rational Disagreement in Science: An Interpretation and Critique.Markus Seidel - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Whereas there is much discussion about Thomas Kuhn’s notion of methodological incommensurability and many have seen his ideas as an attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science, so far no serious analysis of how exactly Kuhn aims to account for rational disagreement has been proposed. This paper provides the first in-depth analysis of Kuhn’s account of rational disagreement in science—an account that can be seen as the most prominent attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science. Three things will (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-19
    Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...)
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  3. added 2018-10-11
    Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation.Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):1-18.
    I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates underdetermination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I confine the discussion to the history of the observable universe from about one second after the Big Bang, as described by the mainstream cosmological model: in effect, what cosmologists in the early 1970s dubbed the ‘standard model’, as elaborated since then. Or rather, the discussion is confined to a (very!) few aspects of that history. I emphasize that despite (...)
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  4. added 2018-10-11
    Can Theoretical Underdetermination Support the Indeterminacy of Translation? Revisiting Quine's 'Real Ground'.Sophie R. Allen - 2010 - Philosophy 85 (1):67-90.
    It is commonly believed that Quine's principal argument for the Indeterminacy of Translation requires an untenably strong account of the underdetermination of theories by evidence, namely that that two theories may be compatible with all possible evidence for them and yet incompatible with each other. In this article, I argue that Quine's conclusion that translation is indeterminate can be based upon the weaker, uncontroversial conception of theoretical underdetermination, in conjunction with a weak reading of the 'Gavagai' argument which establishes the (...)
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  5. added 2018-10-11
    Quantum Field Theory: Underdetermination, Inconsistency, and Idealization.Doreen Fraser - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):536-567.
    Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT (...)
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  6. added 2018-10-11
    Can We Justifiably Assume the Cosmological Principle in Order to Break Model Underdetermination in Cosmology?Claus Beisbart - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):175-205.
    If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid underdetermination (...)
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  7. added 2018-10-11
    Underdetermination Issues in the Exact Sciences.Robert S. Cohen, Jürgen Renn & Kostas Gavroglu - 2008 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 261:45-87.
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  8. added 2018-10-11
    Underdetermination and the Argument From Indirect Confirmation.Sorin Bangu - 2006 - Ratio 19 (3):269–277.
    In this paper I criticize one of the most convincing recent attempts to resist the underdetermination thesis, Laudan’s argument from indirect confirmation. Laudan highlights and rejects a tacit assumption of the underdetermination theorist, namely that theories can be confirmed only by empirical evidence that follows from them. He shows that once we accept that theories can also be confirmed indirectly, by evidence not entailed by them, the skeptical conclusion does not follow. I agree that Laudan is right to reject this (...)
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  9. added 2018-10-11
    Underdetermination and Theory Succession From the Perspective of String Theory.Richard Dawid - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (3):298-322.
  10. added 2018-10-11
    Realism and Underdetermination: Some Clues From the Practices-Up.Alberto Cordero - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S301-.
    Recent attempts to turn Standard Quantum Theory into a coherent representational system have improved markedly over previous offerings. Important questions about the nature of material systems remain open, however, as current theorizing effectively resolves into a multiplicity of incompatible statements about the nature of physical systems. Specifically, the most cogent proposals to date land in effective empirical equivalence, reviving old anti-realist fears about quantum physics. In this paper such fears are discussed and found unsound. It is argued that nothing of (...)
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  11. added 2018-10-11
    Physics and the Underdetermination Thesis.Alberto Cordero - 2001 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:97-113.
    Although exceptionally successful in the laboratory, the standard version of quantum theory is marred as a realist-objectivist proposition because of its internal conceptual difficulties and its tension with important parts of physics—most conspicuously, relativity theory. So, to meet these challenges, in recent years at least three distinct major objectivist programs have been advanced to further quantum theory into a proper general account of material systems. Unfortunately, the resulting proposals turn out to be, for all practical purposes, empirically equivalent both among (...)
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  12. added 2018-10-11
    Underdetermination, Conventionalism and Realism: The Copenhagen Vs. The Bohm Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.James T. Cushing - 1993 - In S. French & H. Kamminga (eds.), Correspondence, Invariance and Heuristics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 261--278.
  13. added 2018-10-11
    More on Quine's Dilemma of Underdetermination.Roger F. Gibson - 1991 - Dialectica 45 (1):59-66.
    SummaryQuine's doctrine of underdetermination of physical theory presents him with a dilemma: Should he say of two global theory formulations that are empirically equivalent, logically compatible, equally simple, but which cannot be rendered logically equivalent by any known reconstrual of predicates, that they are both true or that only one of them is true ? If the former, then Quine's commitment to naturalism is at risk; if the latter, then his commitment to empiricism is at risk. When confronted with the (...)
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  14. added 2018-07-16
    Leplin on the Antirealist Argument for Underdetermination.Samir Okasha - manuscript
  15. added 2018-07-16
    Delimiting the Unconceived.Richard Dawid - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (5):492-506.
    It has been argued in Dawid that physicists at times generate substantial trust in an empirically unconfirmed theory based on observations that lie beyond the theory’s intended domain. A crucial role in the reconstruction of this argument of “non-empirical confirmation” is played by limitations to scientific underdetermination. The present paper discusses the question as to how generic the role of limitations to scientific underdetermination really is. It is argued that assessing such limitations is essential for generating trust in any theory’s (...)
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  16. added 2018-07-16
    Scientific Realism Meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory.
    I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...)
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  17. added 2018-07-16
    How to Undermine Underdetermination?Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay, John G. Bennett & Megan D. Higgs - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (2):107-127.
    The underdetermination thesis poses a threat to rational choice of scientific theories. We discuss two arguments for the thesis. One draws its strength from deductivism together with the existence thesis, and the other is defended on the basis of the failure of a reliable inductive method. We adopt a partially subjective/objective pragmatic Bayesian epistemology of science framework, and reject both arguments for the thesis. Thus, in science we are able to reinstate rational choice called into question by the underdetermination thesis.
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  18. added 2018-07-16
    Another Look at Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination of Theory Choice.Pablo Acuña & Dennis Dieks - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):153-180.
    In 1991 Larry Laudan and Jarret Leplin proposed a solution for the problem of empirical equivalence and the empirical underdetermination that is often thought to result from it. In this paper we argue that, even though Laudan and Leplin’s reasoning is essentially correct, their solution should be accurately assessed in order to appreciate its nature and scope. Indeed, Laudan and Leplin’s analysis does not succeed in completely removing the problem or, as they put it, in refuting the thesis of underdetermination (...)
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  19. added 2018-07-16
    On Choosing Between Deterministic and Indeterministic Models: Underdetermination and Indirect Evidence.Charlotte Werndl - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2243-2265.
    There are results which show that measure-theoretic deterministic models and stochastic models are observationally equivalent. Thus there is a choice between a deterministic and an indeterministic model and the question arises: Which model is preferable relative to evidence? If the evidence equally supports both models, there is underdetermination. This paper first distinguishes between different kinds of choice and clarifies the possible resulting types of underdetermination. Then a new answer is presented: the focus is on the choice between a Newtonian deterministic (...)
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  20. added 2018-07-16
    Metaphysical Underdetermination: Why Worry?Steven French - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):205 - 221.
    Various forms of underdetermination that might threaten the realist stance are examined. That which holds between different 'formulations' of a theory (such as the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations of classical mechanics) is considered in some detail, as is the 'metaphysical' underdetermination invoked to support 'ontic structural realism'. The problematic roles of heuristic fruitfulness and surplus structure in attempts to break these forms of underdetermination are discussed and an approach emphasizing the relevant structural commonalities is defended.
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  21. added 2018-07-16
    The Many Faces of Underdetermination.Sorin Bangu - 2011 - Metascience 20 (1):169-171.
  22. added 2018-07-16
    Is Structural Underdetermination Possible?Holger Lyre - 2011 - Synthese 180 (2):235 - 247.
    Structural realism is sometimes said to undermine the theory underdetermination (TUD) argument against realism, since, in usual TUD scenarios, the supposed underdetermination concerns the object-like theoretical content but not the structural content. The paper explores the possibility of structural TUD by considering some special cases from modern physics, but also questions the validity of the TUD argument itself. The upshot is that cases of structural TUD cannot be excluded, but that TUD is perhaps not such a terribly serious anti-realistic argument.
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  23. added 2018-07-16
    Strong Underdetermination of Theories by Data: The Case of Different Mathematical Formulations of a Scientific Theory.Vincent Ardourel - unknown
  24. added 2018-07-16
    Why Quantum Theory is Possibly Wrong.Holger Lyre - 2010 - Foundations of Physics 40 (9-10):1429-1438.
    Quantum theory is a tremendously successful physical theory, but nevertheless suffers from two serious problems: the measurement problem and the problem of interpretational underdetermination. The latter, however, is largely overlooked as a genuine problem of its own. Both problems concern the doctrine of realism, but pull, quite curiously, into opposite directions. The measurement problem can be captured such that due to scientific realism about quantum theory common sense anti-realism follows, while theory underdetermination usually counts as an argument against scientific realism. (...)
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  25. added 2018-07-16
    Underdetermination Versus Indeterminacy.Juan José Lara Peñaranda - 2009 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 47:219-228.
  26. added 2018-07-16
    Underdetermination and Rational Choice of Theories.Jacob Busch - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (1):55-65.
    The underdetermination of theory by data argument (UD) is traditionally construed as an argument that tells us that we ought to favour an anti-realist position over a realist position. I argue that when UD is constructed as an argument saying that theory choice is to proceed between theories that are empirically equivalent and adequate to the phenomena up until now, the argument will not favour constructive empiricism over realism. A constructive empiricist cannot account for why scientists are reasonable in expecting (...)
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  27. added 2018-07-16
    What You Don’T Know Can’T Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived.Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149-158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  28. added 2018-07-16
    No New Miracles, Same Old Tricks.Jacob Busch - 2008 - Theoria 74 (2):102-114.
    Abstract: Laudan (1984) distinguishes between two senses of success for scientific theories: (i) that a particular theory is successful, and (ii) that the methods for picking out approximately true theories are successful. These two senses of success are reflected in two different ways that the no miracles argument for scientific realism (NMA) may be set out. First, I set out a (traditional) version of NMA that considers the success of particular theories. I then consider a more recent formulation of NMA (...)
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  29. added 2018-07-16
    Contrast, Inference and Scientific Realism.Mark Day & George S. Botterill - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):249-267.
    The thesis of underdetermination presents a major obstacle to the epistemological claims of scientific realism. That thesis is regularly assumed in the philosophy of science, but is puzzlingly at odds with the actual history of science, in which empirically adequate theories are thin on the ground. We propose to advance a case for scientific realism which concentrates on the process of scientific reasoning rather than its theoretical products. Developing an account of causal–explanatory inference will make it easier to resist the (...)
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  30. added 2018-07-16
    Scientific Realism and the History of Science.Michael Esfeld - 2005 - Philosophy 1:1-15.
    The paper considers the two main challenges to scientific realism, stemming from confirmation holism and the underdetermination thesis as well as from semantic holism and the incommensurability thesis. Against the first challenge, it is argued that there are other criteria besides agreement with experience that enable a rational evaluation of competing theories. Against the second challenge, it is argued that at most a thesis of local incommensurability can be defended that is compatible with a minimal version of scientific realism, namely (...)
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  31. added 2018-07-16
    Underdetermination, Realism, and Theory Appraisal: An Epistemological Reflection on Quantum Mechanics. [REVIEW]Darrin W. Belousek - 2005 - Foundations of Physics 35 (4):669-695.
    This paper examines the epistemological significance of the present situation of underdetermination in quantum mechanics. After analyzing this underdetermination at three levels---formal, ontological, and methodological---the paper considers implications for a number of variants of the thesis of scientific realism in fundamental physics and reassesses Lakatos‘ characterization of progress in physical theory in light of the present situation. Next, this paper considers the implications of underdetermination for Weinberg’s ‘‘dream of a final theory.’’ Finally, the paper concludes by suggesting how one might (...)
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  32. added 2018-07-16
    Background Theories and Total Science.P. D. Magnus - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1064-1075.
    Background theories in science are used both to prove and to disprove that theory choice is underdetermined by data. The alleged proof appeals to the fact that experiments to decide between theories typically require auxiliary assumptions from other theories. If this generates a kind of underdetermination, it shows that standards of scientific inference are fallible and must be appropriately contextualized. The alleged disproof appeals to the possibility of suitable background theories to show that no theory choice can be timelessly or (...)
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  33. added 2018-07-16
    A Closer Look at the Underdetermination Thesis and its Use in Debates Concerning Scientific Realism.Orit Gwirceman - 2003 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    The underdetermination thesis , the claim that every theory has a rival that is equally reasonable to believe given all the possible evidence, is central in the debate between Scientific Realists and Scientific Anti-Realists. We address central arguments on both sides and argue for the truth of a certain version of the thesis. ;Scientific Realists argue that UD is false because the class of facts relative to which the rivals are compared can change in unforeseeable ways because: the class of (...)
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  34. added 2018-07-16
    Must Evidence Underdetermine Theory.John D. Norton - 2003 - The Challenge of the Social and the Pressure of Practice:17--44.
    According to the underdetermination thesis, all evidence necessarily underdetermines any scientific theory. Thus it is often argued that our agreement on the content of mature scientific theories must be due to social and other factors. Drawing on a long standing tradition of criticism, I shall argue that the underdetermination thesis is little more than speculation based on an impoverished account of induction. A more careful look at accounts of induction does not support an assured underdetermination or the holism usually associated (...)
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  35. added 2018-07-16
    Underdetermination and the Claims of Science.P. D. Magnus - 2003 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
    The underdetermination of theory by evidence is supposed to be a reason to rethink science. It is not. Many authors claim that underdetermination has momentous consequences for the status of scientific claims, but such claims are hidden in an umbra of obscurity and a penumbra of equivocation. So many various phenomena pass for `underdetermination' that it's tempting to think that it is no unified phenomenon at all, so I begin by providing a framework within which all these worries can be (...)
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  36. added 2018-07-16
    Holism, Underdetermination, and the Dynamics of Empirical Theories.Ulrich Gähde - 2002 - Synthese 130 (1):69 - 90.
    The goal of this article is to show that the structuralist approachprovides a powerful framework for the analysis of certain holistic phenomena in empirical theories.We focus on two aspects of holism. The first refers to the involvement of comprehensive complexes of hypothesesin the theoretical treatment of systems regarded in isolation. By contrast, the second refers to thecorrelation between the theoretical descriptions of different systems. It is demonstrated how these two aspectscan be analysed by making use of the structuralist notion of (...)
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  37. added 2018-07-16
    Realism and Underdetermination: Some Clues From the Practices-Up.Alberto Cordero - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S301-S312.
    Recent attempts to turn Standard Quantum Theory into a coherent representational system have improved markedly over previous offerings. Important questions about the nature of material systems remain open, however, as current theorizing effectively resolves into a multiplicity of incompatible statements about the nature of physical systems. Specifically, the most cogent proposals to date land in effective empirical equivalence, reviving old anti-realist fears about quantum physics. In this paper such fears are discussed and found unsound. It is argued that nothing of (...)
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  38. added 2018-07-16
    The Underdetermination of Theory by Data and the "Strong Programme" in the Sociology of Knowledge.Samir Okasha - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):283 – 297.
    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, (...)
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  39. added 2018-07-16
    The Light at the End of the Tunneling: Observation and Underdetermination.Michael Dickson - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):58.
    If observation is 'theory-laden', how can there be 'observationally equivalent theories'? How can the observations 'laden' by one theory be 'the same as' those 'laden' by another? The answer might lie in the expressibility of observationally equivalent theories in a common mathematical formalism.
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  40. added 2018-07-16
    Earman on Underdetermination and Empirical Indistinguishability.Igor Douven & Leon Horsten - 1998 - Erkenntnis 49 (3):303-320.
    Earman (1993) distinguishes three notions of empirical indistinguishability and offers a rigorous framework to investigate how each of these notions relates to the problem of underdetermination of theory choice. He uses some of the results obtained in this framework to argue for a version of scientific anti- realism. In the present paper we first criticize Earman's arguments for that position. Secondly, we propose and motivate a modification of Earman's framework and establish several results concerning some of the notions of indistinguishability (...)
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  41. added 2018-07-16
    Classical Physics and Early Quantum Theory: A Legitimate Case of Theoretical Underdetermination.Robert G. Hudson - 1997 - Synthese 110 (2):217-256.
    In 1912, Henri Poincaré published an argument which apparently shows that the hypothesis of quanta is both necessary and sufficient for the truth of Planck''s experimentally corroborated law describing the spectral distribution of radiant energy in a black body. In a recent paper, John Norton has reaffirmed the authority of Poincarés argument, setting it up as a paradigm case in which empirical data can be used to definitively rule out theoretical competitors to a given theoretical hypothesis. My goal is to (...)
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  42. added 2018-07-16
    The Underdetermination of Total Theories.Jarrett Leplin - 1997 - Erkenntnis 47 (2):203-215.
    This paper criticizes the attempt to found the epistemological doctrine that all theories are evidentially underdetermined on the thesis that all theories have empirically equivalent rivals. The criticisms focus on the role of auxiliary hypotheses in prediction. It is argued, in particular, that if auxiliaries are underdetermined, then the thesis of empirical equivalence is undecidable. The inference from empirical equivalence to the underdetermination of total theories would seem to survive the criticisms, because total theories do not require auxiliaries to yield (...)
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  43. added 2018-07-16
    Does Every Theory Have Empirically Equivalent Rivals?Andre Kukla - 1996 - Erkenntnis 44 (2):137 - 166.
    The instrumentalist argument from the underdetermination of theories by data runs as follows: (1) every theory has empirically equivalent rivals; (2) the only warrant for believing one theory over another is its possession of a greater measure of empirical virtue; (3) therefore belief in any theory is arbitrary. In this paper, I examine the status of the first premise. Several arguments against the universal availability of empirically equivalent theoretical rivals are criticized, and four algorithms for producing empirically equivalent rivals are (...)
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  44. added 2018-07-16
    Underdetermination, Realism, and Reason.John Earman - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):19-38.
  45. added 2018-07-16
    Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination.Larry Laudan & Jarrett Leplin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (9):449.
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  46. added 2018-07-16
    Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination.Larry Laudan & Jarrett Leplin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (9):449-472.
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  47. added 2018-07-16
    Demystifying Underdetermination.Larry Laudan - 1990 - In C. Wade Savage (ed.), Scientific Theories. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 267-97.
  48. added 2018-07-16
    The Determination of Physical Theory.Thomas Virgil Cuda - 1990 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    It is argued that the concept of observational equivalence can be made coherent, and that observationally equivalent theories can be theoretically incompatible. However, it is also argued that observationally equivalent, theoretically incompatible theories are difficult to generate in a way that leaves even a prima facie epistemological problem, for they will usually involve superfluous expansions. An account, involving a discussion of scientific realism, is given as to why superfluous expansions are not epistemolgically troublesome. Furthermore, a method is given that allows (...)
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  49. added 2018-07-16
    Realism and the Underdetermination of Theory.F. John Clendinnen - 1989 - Synthese 81 (1):63 - 90.
    The main theme is that theorizing serves empirical prediction. This is used as the core of a counter to contemporary anti-realist arguments. Different versions of the thesis that data underdetermines theory are identified and it is shown that none which are acceptable differentiates between theory selection and prediction. Criteria sufficient for the former are included amongst those necessary for the latter; and obviously go beyond mere compatibility with data.Special attention is given to causal process theories. It is argued that the (...)
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  50. added 2018-07-16
    Towards a Theory of Theoretical Objects.Gordon G. Brittan Jr - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:384 - 393.
    Traditional accounts stress certain features of theoretical objects such as their alleged imperceptibility, that are taken to raise epistemological difficulties. But these accounts do not show how theoretical objects, rightly understood, either differ in kind from more ordinary sorts of objects or make science possible. I sketch a new account that focuses on the underdetermination and similarity of theoretical objects, features closely connected to the explanatory roles they play, and construes them on an algebraic model.
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1 — 50 / 76