Authors
John D. Norton
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
According to the underdetermination thesis, all evidence necessarily underdetermines any scientific theory. Thus it is often argued that our agreement on the content of mature scientific theories must be due to social and other factors. Drawing on a long standing tradition of criticism, I shall argue that the underdetermination thesis is little more than speculation based on an impoverished account of induction. A more careful look at accounts of induction does not support an assured underdetermination or the holism usually associated with it. I also urge that the display of observationally equivalent theories is a self-defeating strategy for supporting the underdetermination thesis. The very fact that observational equivalence can be demonstrated by arguments brief enough to be included in a journal article means that we cannot preclude the possibility that the theories are merely variant formulations of the same theory.
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State of the Field: Transient Underdetermination and Values in Science.Justin Biddle - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):124-133.
Theoretical Equivalence as Interpretative Equivalence.Kevin Coffey - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):821-844.
Holism and Structuralism in U(1) Gauge Theory.Holger Lyre - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (4):643-670.
Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson & Margaret Greta Turnbull - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-13.

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