Refusing the devil's bargain: What kind of underdetermination should we take seriously?

Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S1- (2001)
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Advocates have sought to prove that underdetermination obtains because all theories have empirical equivalents. But algorithms for generating empirical equivalents simply exchange underdetermination for familiar philosophical chestnuts, while the few convincing examples of empirical equivalents will not support the desired sweeping conclusions. Nonetheless, underdetermination does not depend on empirical equivalents: our warrant for current theories is equally undermined by presently unconceived alternatives as well-confirmed merely by the existing evidence, so long as this transient predicament recurs for each theory and body of evidence we consider. The historical record supports the claim that this recurrent, transient underdetermination predicament is our own



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