Synthese 200 (1):1-12 (2022)

Lynn Nelson
Liberty University
Appeals to some thesis of underdetermination, to the idea that scientific theories and hypotheses are not entailed by the evidence that supports them, are common in feminist philosophy of science. These appeals seek to understand and explain how androcentrism and other problematic approaches to gender have found their way into good science, as well as the reverse – how feminist approaches to gender and science that are also value-laden, can contribute to good science. Focusing on W.V. Quine’s positions on holism and underdetermination, I argue that although Quine’s general thesis of holism does not entail his thesis of global underdetermination, his account of and arguments for moderate holism entail a localized and generalizable underdetermination, which I call moderate underdetermination. This moderate underdetermination is not transient or true of only some theories and hypotheses. Rather, it is a permanent state of affairs that characterizes all reasonably inclusive theories and hypotheses, however much evidence for them accumulates. I contend that Quine’s moderate holism entails the most robust and defensible argument for localized underdetermination, and that feminists would do well to appeal to it in arguing that values inform good science.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-022-03569-2
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References found in this work BETA

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. Quine - 1951 - [Longmans, Green].
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory.Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem - 1954 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.

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