Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation


Authors
Jeremy Butterfield
Cambridge University
Abstract
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 few aspects of that history. I emphasize that despite the underdetermination, a scientific realist can, and should, endorse this description.
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DOI 10.1111/supa.2012.86.issue-1
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