Synthese 187 (2):673-692 (2012)

Authors
Abrol Fairweather
University of San Francisco
Abstract
The Duhem-Quine Thesis is the claim that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation because any empirical test requires assuming the truth of one or more auxiliary hypotheses. This is taken by many philosophers, and is assumed here, to support the further thesis that theory choice is underdetermined by empirical evidence. This inquiry is focused strictly on the axiological commitments engendered in solutions to underdetermination, specifically those of Pierre Duhem and W. V. Quine. Duhem resolves underdetermination by appealing to a cluster of virtues called 'good sense', and it has recently been argued by Stump (Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sei, 18(1):149-159,2007) that good sense is a form of virtue epistemology. This paper considers whether Quine, who's philosophy is heavily influenced by the very thesis that led Duhem to the virtues, is also led to a virtue epistemology in the face of underdetermination. Various sources of Quinian epistemic normativity are considered, and it is argued that, in conjunction with other normative commitments, Quine's sectarian solution to underdetermination amounts to a skills based virtue epistemology. The paper also sketches formal features of the novel form of virtue epistemology common to Duhem and Quine that challenges the adequacy of epistemic value truth-monism and blocks any imperialist naturalization of virtue epistemology, as the epistemic virtues are essential to the success of the sciences themselves
Keywords Underdetermination  Virtue epistemology  Epistemic value  Quine  Duhem  Empirical  Equivalence
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-010-9868-2
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References found in this work BETA

From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.
The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem - 1954 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Practical Skills and Practical Wisdom in Virtue.Matt Stichter - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):435-448.
The Epistemic Value of Good Sense.Abrol Fairweather - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):139-146.
The Duhem-Quine Thesis Reconsidered.Piotr K. Szałek - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 62 (1):73-93.

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