The underdetermination of theory by data and the "strong programme" in the sociology of knowledge

Advocates of the "strong programme" in the sociology of knowledge have argued that, because scientific theories are "underdetermined" by data, sociological factors must be invoked to explain why scientists believe the theories they do. I examine this argument, and the responses to it by J.R. Brown (1989) and L. Laudan (1996). I distinguish between a number of different versions of the underdetermination thesis, some trivial, some substantive. I show that Brown's and Laudan's attempts to refute the sociologists' argument fail. Nonetheless, the sociologists' argument falls to a different criticism, for the version of the underdetermination thesis that the argument requires, has not been shown to be true.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/026985900437782
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,422
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Roberto Fumagalli (2013). The Futile Search for True Utility. Economics and Philosophy 29 (3):325-347.
Chris Calvert-Minor (2008). The "Strong Programme", Normativity, and Social Causes. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38 (1):1–22.
Adrian Haddock (2004). Rethinking the “Strong Programme” in the Sociology of Knowledge. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):19-40.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

180 ( #22,807 of 1,924,955 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #96,508 of 1,924,955 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.