The inductive significance of observationally indistinguishable spacetimes: (Peter Achinstein has the last laugh)


Authors
John D. Norton
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
Results on the observational indistinguishability of spacetimes demonstrate the impossibility of determining by deductive inference which is our spacetime, no matter how extensive a portion of the spacetime is observed. These results do not illustrate an underdetermination of theory by evidence, since they make no decision between competing theories and they make little contact with the inductive considerations that must ground such a decision. Rather, these results express a variety of indeterminism in which a specification of the observable past always fails to fix the remainder of a spacetime. This form of indeterminism is more troubling than the familiar indeterminism of quantum theory. The inductive inferences that can discriminate among the different spacetime extensions of the observed past are here called “opaque,” which means that we cannot readily see the warrant that lies behind them.
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A Material Theory of Induction.John D. Norton - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):647-670.
Can We Know the Global Structure of Spacetime?John Byron Manchak - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):53-56.
Privileged, Typical, or Not Even That? – Our Place in the World According to the Copernican and the Cosmological Principles.Claus Beisbart & Tobias Jung - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):225-256.

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