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Must Evidence Underdetermine Theory?

Norton, John D (2003) Must Evidence Underdetermine Theory? In: First Notre Dame-Bielefeld Interdisciplinary Conference on Science and Values, 09 July 2003 - 12 July 2003, Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Forschung, Universität Bielefeld. (Unpublished)

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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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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Norton, John Djdnorton@pitt.eduJDNORTON
Date: July 2003
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: First Notre Dame-Bielefeld Interdisciplinary Conference on Science and Values
Event Dates: 09 July 2003 - 12 July 2003
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Underdetermination, evidence, induction, confirmation, observation, equivalence, Duhem, Quine
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2009 19:36
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 18:55


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