Can Theories Be Refuted Essays On The Duhem-Quine Thesis

Can Theories Be Refuted Essays On The Duhem-Quine Thesis-11
John Stuart Mill articulated a distinctively scientific version of the concern with impressive clarity in Most thinkers of any degree of sobriety allow, that an hypothesis..not to be received as probably true because it accounts for all the known phenomena, since this is a condition sometimes fulfilled tolerably well by two conflicting hypotheses...while there are probably a thousand more which are equally possible, but which, for want of anything analogous in our experience, our minds are unfitted to conceive. But neither Duhem nor Quine was careful to systematically distinguish a number of fundamentally distinct lines of thinking about underdetermination that may be discerned in their works.([1867] 1900, 328) However, the traditional locus classicus for underdetermination in science is the work of Pierre Duhem, a French physicist as well as historian and philosopher of science who lived at the turn of the 20, Duhem formulated various problems of scientific underdetermination in an especially perspicuous and compelling way, although he himself argued that these problems posed serious challenges only to our efforts to confirm theories in physics. Perhaps the most important division is between what we might call holist and contrastive forms of underdetermination.Holist underdetermination (Section 2 below) arises whenever our inability to test hypotheses in isolation leaves us underdetermined in our with other hypotheses and/or background beliefs about the world, a failed prediction or falsified empirical consequence typically leaves open to us the possibility of blaming and abandoning one of these background beliefs and/or ‘auxiliary’ hypotheses rather than the hypothesis we set out to test in the first place.

John Stuart Mill articulated a distinctively scientific version of the concern with impressive clarity in Most thinkers of any degree of sobriety allow, that an hypothesis..not to be received as probably true because it accounts for all the known phenomena, since this is a condition sometimes fulfilled tolerably well by two conflicting hypotheses...while there are probably a thousand more which are equally possible, but which, for want of anything analogous in our experience, our minds are unfitted to conceive. But neither Duhem nor Quine was careful to systematically distinguish a number of fundamentally distinct lines of thinking about underdetermination that may be discerned in their works.([1867] 1900, 328) However, the traditional locus classicus for underdetermination in science is the work of Pierre Duhem, a French physicist as well as historian and philosopher of science who lived at the turn of the 20, Duhem formulated various problems of scientific underdetermination in an especially perspicuous and compelling way, although he himself argued that these problems posed serious challenges only to our efforts to confirm theories in physics. Perhaps the most important division is between what we might call holist and contrastive forms of underdetermination.Holist underdetermination (Section 2 below) arises whenever our inability to test hypotheses in isolation leaves us underdetermined in our with other hypotheses and/or background beliefs about the world, a failed prediction or falsified empirical consequence typically leaves open to us the possibility of blaming and abandoning one of these background beliefs and/or ‘auxiliary’ hypotheses rather than the hypothesis we set out to test in the first place.

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At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple idea that the evidence available to us at a given time may be insufficient to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it.

In a textbook example, if all I know is that you spent $10 on apples and oranges and that apples cost $1 while oranges cost $2, then I know that you did not buy six oranges, but I do not know whether you bought one orange and eight apples, two oranges and six apples, and so on.

When the world does not live up to our theory-grounded expectations, we must give up In sum, the physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses; when the experiment is in disagreement with his predictions, what he learns is that at least one of the hypotheses constituting this group is unacceptable and ought to be modified; but the experiment does not designate which one should be changed.

([1914] 1954, 187) The predicament Duhem here identifies is no mere rainy day puzzle for philosophers of science, but a methodological challenge that constantly arises in the course of scientific practice itself.

But it turns out that this simple and familiar predicament only scratches the surface of the various ways in which problems of underdetermination can arise in the course of scientific investigation.

The scope of the epistemic challenge arising from underdetermination is not limited only to scientific contexts, as is perhaps most readily seen in classical skeptical attacks on our knowledge more generally.

As we will see in Section 2.2, however, Larry Laudan has argued that such claims depend upon simple equivocation between the comparatively weak or trivial forms of underdetermination that their partisans have managed to establish and the far stronger forms from which they draw radical conclusions about the limited reach of evidence and rationality in science.

In the sections that follow we will seek to clearly characterize and distinguish the various forms of both holist and contrastive underdetermination that have been suggested to arise in scientific contexts (noting some important connections between them along the way), assess the strength and significance of the heterogeneous argumentative considerations offered in support of and against them, and consider just which forms of underdetermination pose genuinely consequential challenges for scientific inquiry.

Is it in some other assumption concerning the actions experienced by light corpuscles due to the media in which they move? It would be rash to believe, as Arago seems to have thought, that Foucault’s experiment condemns once and for all the very hypothesis of emission, i.e., the assimilation of a ray of light to a swarm of projectiles.

If physicists had attached some value to this task, they would undoubtedly have succeeded in founding on this assumption a system of optics that would agree with Foucault’s experiment. 187) From this and similar examples, Duhem drew the quite general conclusion that our response to the experimental or observational falsification of a theory is always underdetermined in this way.

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  • Duhem–Quine thesis - Wikipedia
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    The Duhem–Quine thesis, also called the Duhem–Quine problem, after Pierre Duhem and. Can theories be refuted? essays on the Duhem-Quine thesis.…

  • Underdetermination of Scientific Theory Stanford.
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    Aug 12, 2009. A simple scientific example can be found in the rationale behind the sensible. But neither Duhem nor Quine was careful to systematically. air than in water, Duhem argues that this is far from a refutation of the hypothesis of emission. to the thesis that our scientific theories are underdetermined by the.…

  • Quine-Duhem Thesis - Bibliography - PhilPapers
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    The thesis can be interpreted in a more radical form that tends to be. thesis about the relation between evidence and theory, though in Quine's case. Can Theories Be Refuted. Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis by Sandra G. Harding.…

  • THE DUHEM THESIS, THE QUINE THESIS AND THE.
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    EHPS Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science. the Duhem Thesis or the thesis of holism in theory testing will be shown to be a. This in turn refutes the idea, again independently of holism, that a crucial experiment can.…

  • The Duhem Thesis - jstor
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    That any theory can be maintained in the face of any evidence, provided we make sufficiently. called the Duhem thesis, the D-thesis, the Duhem-Quine thesis, the. empirically refuted inductivism using a thesis that there can be no empirical. Methodological and Historical Essays in the Natural and Social Sciences.…

  • Can Theories be Refuted? - Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis
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    According to a view assumed by many scientists and philosophers of science and standardly found in science textbooks, it is controlled ex perience which.…

  • Can theories be refuted? - Springer Link
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    Experiments; one can never be sure that it is a given theory rather than auxiliary or. Then the major criticisms of the Duhem-Quine thesis will be presented. may well tum out to be the less important claim Quine makes in this essay. In the first.…

  • Morten Søberg The Duhem-Quine thesis and. - Unit
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    The Duhem-Quine thesis asserts that any empirical evaluation of a theory is in. Non-separability means that empirical predictions can only be deduced from clusters of. expense of refuting auxiliary hypotheses, regardless of the number of. Worlds Essays on the Philosophy of Adolf Grünbaum, Pittsburgh University of.…

  • Can Theories Be Refuted? Essays on the Quine-Duhem Thesis.
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    Editorial team. General Editors David Bourget Western Ontario David Chalmers ANU, NYU Area Editors David Bourget Gwen Bradford…

  • Pierre Duhem Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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    Jul 13, 2007. In the 1890s, while still at Lille, he began writing essays on questions of. Because of Quine's reference to Duhem, the thesis formed from the two sub-theses, that. Harding, Sandra G. ed. 1976, Can Theories be Refuted?…

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