Historical Science, Over- and Underdetermined: A Study of Darwin's Inference of Origins

Abstract
The epistemology of the historical sciences has been debated recently. Cleland argued that the effects of the past overdetermine it. Turner argued that the past is underdetermined by its effects because of the decay of information from the past. I argue that the extent of over- and underdetermination cannot be approximated by philosophical inquiry. It is an empirical question that each historical science attempts to answer. Philosophers should examine how paradigmatic cases of historical science handled underdetermination or utilized overdetermination. I analyze such a paradigmatic case, Darwin’s phylogenetic inferences. Darwin proceeded in three consecutive stages. The initial inference that there was some common cause of homologies was usually overdetermined. The final inference of the character traits of ancestor species was usually underdetermined. The second stage inference of the causal net that connected the species that share some common cause was inbetween. A comparison with Comparative Historical Linguistics demonstrates similar three stages of inference that move from the over- to the underdetermined
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axr012
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,308
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Guessing the Future of the Past.Ben Jeffares - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):125-142.
Logicism Lite.Richard Jeffrey - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):474-496.
The Structure of Microbial Evolutionary Theory.J. Sapp - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (4):780-795.
Modus Darwin.Elliott Sober - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):253-278.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Model Organisms Are Not Models.Arnon Levy & Adrian Currie - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):327-348.
A Second Look at the Colors of the Dinosaurs.Derek D. Turner - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:60-68.
Hot-Blooded Gluttons: Dependency, Coherence, and Method in the Historical Sciences.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw005.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Background Theories and Total Science.P. D. Magnus - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1064-1075.
Modus Darwin.Elliott Sober - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):253-278.
Abductive Knowledge and Holmesian Inference.Alexander Bird - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 1--31.
Taking Analogical Inference Seriously: Darwin's Argument From Artificial Selection.C. Kenneth Waters - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:502 - 513.
Prediction and Explanation in Historical Natural Science.C. E. Cleland - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):551-582.
The Functions of Fossils: Inference and Explanation in Functional Morphology.D. Turner - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 31 (1):193-212.
Modeling Causal Structures.Raphael Scholl & Tim Räz - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):115-132.
Added to PP index
2011-07-19

Total downloads
22 ( #231,182 of 2,180,121 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #304,925 of 2,180,121 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums