Fault-Tracing: Against Quine-Duhem: A Defense of the Objectivity of Scientific Justification

Berlin: De Gruyter (2020)
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The Quine-Duhem thesis states that we always have a choice about how praise or blame are distributed in cases of scientific justification. But in many scientific examples, there is simply no room to doubt that a particular hypothesis is responsible for a refutation or established by the observations. Fault Tracing gives a theory of independent justification from different sets of evidence. Using both real and artificial examples, it shows how to play independently established hypotheses against each other to determine whether an arbitrary hypothesis needs to be altered in the light of (apparently) refuting evidence. This is a theory of the functioning of background knowledge in scientific justification, which allows for justification from the evidence independently of values. The book ends by briefly discussing the significance of these results in metaphysics and philosophy.



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Samuel Mitchell
Mount Holyoke College

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