Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1256-1264 (2003)

Authors
P. D. Magnus
State University of New York, Albany
Abstract
If two theory formulations are merely different expressions of the same theory, then any problem of choosing between them cannot be due to the underdetermination of theories by data. So one might suspect that we need to be able to tell distinct theories from mere alternate formulations before we can say anything substantive about underdetermination, that we need to solve the problem of identical rivals before addressing the problem of underdetermination. Here I consider two possible solutions: Quine proposes that we call two theories identical if they are equivalent under a reconstrual of predicates, but this would mishandle important cases. Another proposal is to defer to the particular judgements of actual scientists. Consideration of an historical episodethe alleged equivalence of wave and matrix mechanicsshows that this second proposal also fails. Nevertheless, I suggest, the original suspicion is wrong; there are ways to enquire into underdetermination without having solved the problem of identical rivals.
Keywords Underdetermination   Philosophy of Science   Quine   Realism
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Reprint years 2003
DOI 10.1086/377405
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Science, Truth, and Democracy.Philip Kitcher - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Theory and Evidence.Clark Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Theoretical Equivalence as Interpretative Equivalence.Kevin Coffey - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):821-844.
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.
Reckoning the Shape of Everything: Underdetermination and Cosmotopology.P. D. Magnus - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):541-557.

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Underdetermination and the Claims of Science.P. D. Magnus - 2003 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
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