About this topic
Summary We find ourselves dealing with the Underdetermination of Theory by Data when our evidence fails to give us sufficient reason to prefer one view about the world over a competing view. This category primarily focuses on the underdetermination of scientific hypotheses, models, and theories by scientific data. Philosophers of science have argued that we find ourselves in situations involving underdetermination in both day-to-day scientific practice and at the level of our global theories about the world. Multiple forms of underdetermination have been identified and it's thus extremely important that philosophers be clear about which form of underdetermination is under discussion. Further, the Underdetermination of Theory by Data is frequently a crucial premise in arguments against Scientific Realism as well as in support of the use of values in theory/hypothesis/model appraisal.
Key works Foundational work on underdetermination concerning empirically equivalent theories includes Laudan & Leplin 1991 as well as Kukla 1996.  Important papers concerning the Quine-Duhem Thesis, which is interested in underdetermination related to confirmational holism, begin with Duhem 1954 and Quine 1953 with an influential response provided by Laudan 1990. See Longino 1990 for a defense of the pervasiveness of this form of underdetermination. Transient Underdetermination, underdetermination related to the appearance of new theories throughout the history of science, has been of significant recent interest, with Stanford 2001 reviving discussions of the problem of unconceived alternatives brought up by Sklar 1975. For straightforward discussion of more minimal underdetermination faced in the day-to-day practice of science brought about by the limits of our presently available evidence, see Biddle 2013 and Turner 2005.
Introductions Recent comprehensive introductions to the literature include Stanford 2009 and Turnbull 2018.
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  1. Spinoza on Learning to Live Together by Susan James.Hadley Marie Cooney - 2022 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2):347-348.
    For too long, Spinoza's ethics was misread as an ethics of ideals, in which the most virtuous life possible was said to consist of the life of pure reasoning. The "free man," Spinoza's paragon of virtue, was understood to be the individual who is neither helped nor harmed by anything external. The goal, on this view, was to transcend the life of the body, of the material, and of the political, in order to focus solely on becoming like God by (...)
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  2. Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics by Sandra Leonie Field.Justin Steinberg - 2022 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2):343-345.
    The driving question behind Sandra Leonie Field's exciting new book, Potentia, is: what, exactly, constitutes popular power? Field turns to two seventeenth-century political theorists, Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza, to try to extract an account that might avoid Joseph Schumpeter's dismal conclusion that we should abandon all pretenses to popular power. In the process, she exposes problems with recent populist interpretations of Hobbes and Spinoza, showing that both of these figures appreciated the problems with identifying plebiscites with popular power (...)
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  3. Butler Y el deseo: Entre Spinoza Y Hegel.Gonzalo Ricci Cernadas - 2022 - Agora 41 (2).
    El presente trabajo busca rastrear la figura de Baruch Spinoza en el pensamiento de Judith Butler. Por ello, se analizará, en un primer momento, la tan afamada oposición entre Spinoza y Hegel para, en una segunda instancia, reparar cómo Butler entiende la propia filosofía de Spinoza y, finalmente, ver de qué manera la filósofa logra hermanarla a la de Hegel. A través de estos tres momentos podemos ver cómo es posible pensar, en el decir de Butler, una continuidad complementaria entre (...)
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  4. Spinoza'nın Özgürlük Anlayışının Nörobilimsel Deneyler Işığında Değerlendirilmesi.Abdurrazak Gültekin - 2021 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 11 (11:4):1461-1476.
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  5. Spinoza in Late-Soviet Philosophy.Andrey Maidansky - forthcoming - Studies in East European Thought.
  6. Spinoza, Marx, and Ilyenkov.Bill Bowring - forthcoming - Studies in East European Thought.
  7. Imagination as Crisis: Spinoza on the Naturalisation and Denaturalisation of Capitalist Relations.Anna Piekarska & Jakub Krzeski - forthcoming - Historical Materialism:1-33.
    Many current Marxist debates point to a crisis of imagination as a challenge to emancipatory thoughts and actions. The naturalisation of the capitalist mode of production within the production of subjectivity is among the chief reasons behind this state of affairs. This article contributes to the debate by focusing on the notion of imagination, marked by a deep ambivalence capable of both naturalising and denaturalising social relations constitutive of the established order. Such an understanding of imagination is constructed from within (...)
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  8. “Wise Passiveness”: Wordsworth, Spinoza, and the Ethics of Passivity.Jérémie LeClerc - 2021 - Lumen 40:75-97.
    This article frames the poetry of William Wordsworth and the philosophical writings of Spinoza as mutually illuminating works exploring the ethical and ontological questions raised by bodies in states of passivity and immobility. Both writers, it argues, revise our idea of what a “powerful” body might be by developing the concept of “dynamic passivity”—a passivity that does not stand in simple opposition to states of activity, and that ought to be cultivated rather than overcome in the process of empowering the (...)
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  9. Love and Objective Reality in Spinoza’s Account of the Mind’s Power Over the Affects.Lilli Alanen - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
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  10. Spinoza's Religion.Marie Wuth - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
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  11. Sur le Spinoza de Lévy-Bruhl.Stanislas Deprez - 2021 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 4:521-530.
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  12. The Structuralist Approach to Underdetermination.Chanwoo Lee - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-25.
    This paper provides an exposition of the structuralist approach to underdetermination, which aims to resolve the underdetermination of theories by identifying their common theoretical structure. Applications of the structuralist approach can be found in many areas of philosophy. I present a schema of the structuralist approach, which conceptually unifies such applications in different subject matters. It is argued that two classic arguments in the literature, Paul Benacerraf’s argument on natural numbers and W. V. O. Quine’s argument for the indeterminacy of (...)
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  13. Back to Metaphysics in Spinoza’s Ethics: Spinoza’s Theory of Reading.Ryan J. Johnson - 2015 - Pli 27:23-56.
    This paper begins with a pressing question for contemporary philosophy: What does it mean to read Spinoza’s Ethics today? Before we can address this particular question, we pose another, one possibly prior, question. The question is situated within Spinozism itself. It asks, ‘What does it mean to read, for Spinoza?’ Given Spinoza’s commitment to the theory of parallelism, reading affects both the body and the mind. We first show how an explicit formulation of the three kinds of material bodies allows (...)
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Empirically Equivalent Theories
  1. Virtues in Scientific Practice.Dana Tulodziecki - 2021 - In Emanuele Ratti & Thomas A. Stapleford (eds.), Science, Technology, and Virtues: Contemporary Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter relocates the debate about the theoretical virtues to the empirical level and argues that the question of whether the virtues (and what virtues, if any) have epistemic import is best answered empirically, through an examination of actual scientific theories and hypotheses in the history of science. As a concrete example of this approach, the chapter discusses a case study from the mid-nineteenth-century debate about the transmissibility of puerperal fever. It argues that this case shows that the virtues are (...)
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  2. What Are Empirical Consequences? On Dispensability and Composite Objects.Alex LeBrun - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13201-13223.
    Philosophers sometimes give arguments that presuppose the following principle: two theories can fail to be empirically equivalent on the sole basis that they present different “thick” metaphysical pictures of the world. Recently, a version of this principle has been invoked to respond to the argument that composite objects are dispensable to our best scientific theories. This response claims that our empirical evidence distinguishes between ordinary and composite-free theories, and it empirically favors the ordinary ones. In this paper, I ask whether (...)
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  3. Objectivity and Underdetermination in Statistical Model Selection.Beckett Sterner & Scott Lidgard - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The growing range of methods for statistical model selection is inspiring new debates about how to handle the potential for conflicting results when different methods are applied to the same data. While many factors enter into choosing a model selection method, we focus on the implications of disagreements among scientists about whether, and in what sense, the true probability distribution is included in the candidate set of models. While this question can be addressed empirically, the data often provide inconclusive results (...)
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  4. Time's Arrow and Self‐Locating Probability.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    One of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics is what gives rise to the arrow of time. Since the fundamental dynamical laws of physics are (essentially) symmetric in time, the explanation for time's arrow must come from elsewhere. A promising explanation introduces a special cosmological initial condition, now called the Past Hypothesis: the universe started in a low-entropy state. Unfortunately, in a universe where there are many copies of us (in the distant ''past'' or the distant ''future''), (...)
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  5. Longino's Concept of Values in Science.Miroslav Vacura - 2021 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 43 (1):3-31.
    While classical neo-positivists reject any role for traditionally understood values in science, Kuhn identifies five specific values as criteria for assessing a scientific theory; this approach has been further developed by several other authors. This paper focuses on Helen Longino, who presents a significant contemporary critique of Kuhn’s concept. The most controversial aspect of Longino’s position is arguably her claim that the criterion of empirical adequacy is the least defensible basis for assessing theories. The de-emphasizing of the importance of external (...)
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  6. The Appearance and the Reality of a Scientific Theory.Seungbae Park - 2020 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 9 (11):59-69.
    Scientific realists claim that the best of successful rival theories is (approximately) true. Relative realists object that we cannot make the absolute judgment that a theory is successful, and that we can only make the relative judgment that it is more successful than its competitor. I argue that this objection is undermined by the cases in which empirical equivalents are successful. Relative realists invoke the argument from a bad lot to undermine scientific realism and to support relative realism. In response, (...)
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  7. Externalismo semántico y subdeterminación empírica. Respuesta a un desafío al realismo científico.Marc Jiménez Rolland - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
    I offer an explicit account of the underdetermination thesis as well as of the many challenges it poses to scientific realism; a way to answer to these challenges is explored and outlined, by shifting attention to the content of theories. I argue that, even if we have solid grounds (as I contend we do) to support that some varieties of the underdetermination thesis are true, scientific realism can still offer an adequate picture of the aims and achievements of science.
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  8. Quantum Randomness and Underdetermination.Jeffrey A. Barrett & Simon M. Huttegger - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (3):391-408.
    We consider the nature of quantum randomness and how one might have empirical evidence for it. We will see why, depending on one’s computational resources, it may be impossible to determine whether...
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  9. Realism and Empirical Equivalence.Eric Johannesson - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (3):475-495.
    The main purpose of this paper is to investigate various notions of empirical equivalence in relation to the two main arguments for realism in the philosophy of science, namely the no-miracles argument and the indispensability argument. According to realism, one should believe in the existence of the theoretical entities postulated by empirically adequate theories. According to the no-miracles argument, one should do so because truth is the the best explanation of empirical adequacy. According to the indispensability argument, one should do (...)
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  10. Metaphysical Underdetermination as a Motivational Device.Steven French - unknown
    The view that quantum particles cannot be regarded as individuals was articulated in the early days of the 'quantum revolution' and became so well-entrenched that French and Krause called it 'the Received View'. However it was subsequently shown that quantum statistics is in fact compatible with a metaphysics of particle individuality, subject to certain caveats. As a consequent it has been claim that there exists a kind of underdetermination of the metaphysics by the physics which in turn has been used (...)
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  11. Inquiry Tickets: Values, Pursuit, and Underdetermination.Marina DiMarco & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1016-1028.
    We offer a new account of the role of values in theory choice that captures a temporal dimension to the values themselves. We argue that non-epistemic values sometimes serve as “inquiry tickets,” justifying scientists’ pursuit of certain questions in the short run, while the answers to those questions mitigate transient underdetermination in the long run. Our account of inquiry tickets shows that the role of non-epistemic values need not be restricted to belief or acceptance in order to be relevant to (...)
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  12. Charting the Landscape of Interpretation, Theory Rivalry, and Underdetermination in Quantum Mechanics.Pablo Acuña - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1711-1740.
    When we speak about different interpretations of quantum mechanics it is suggested that there is one single quantum theory that can be interpreted in different ways. However, after an explicit characterization of what it is to interpret quantum mechanics, the right diagnosis is that we have a case of predictively equivalent rival theories. I extract some lessons regarding the resulting underdetermination of theory choice. Issues about theoretical identity, theoretical and methodological pluralism, and the prospects for a realist stance towards quantum (...)
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  13. On Probability and Cosmology: Inference Beyond Data?Martin Sahlen - 2017 - In K. Chamcham, J. Silk, J. D. Barrow & S. Saunders (eds.), The Philosophy of Cosmology. Cambridge, UK:
    Modern scientific cosmology pushes the boundaries of knowledge and the knowable. This is prompting questions on the nature of scientific knowledge. A central issue is what defines a 'good' model. When addressing global properties of the Universe or its initial state this becomes a particularly pressing issue. How to assess the probability of the Universe as a whole is empirically ambiguous, since we can examine only part of a single realisation of the system under investigation: at some point, data will (...)
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  14. Underdetermination and Evidence in the Developmental Plasticity Debate.Karen Kovaka - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):127-152.
    I identify a controversial hypothesis in evolutionary biology called the plasticity-first hypothesis. I argue that the plasticity-first hypothesis is underdetermined and that the most popular means of studying the plasticity-first hypothesis are insufficient to confirm or disconfirm it. I offer a strategy for overcoming this problem. Researchers need to develop a richer middle range theory of plasticity-first evolution that allows them to identify distinctive empirical traces of the hypothesis. They can then use those traces to discriminate between rival explanations of (...)
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  15. Kuhn’s Two Accounts of Rational Disagreement in Science: An Interpretation and Critique.Markus Seidel - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 25):6023-6051.
    Whereas there is much discussion about Thomas Kuhn’s notion of methodological incommensurability and many have seen his ideas as an attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science, so far no serious analysis of how exactly Kuhn aims to account for rational disagreement has been proposed. This paper provides the first in-depth analysis of Kuhn’s account of rational disagreement in science—an account that can be seen as the most prominent attempt to allow for rational disagreement in science. Three things will (...)
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  16. Duality and Ontology.Baptiste Le Bihan & James Read - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (12):e12555.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of underdetermination in the philosophy of science: in the presence of dual theories, what (...)
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  17. Theory-Containment in Controversies: Neurath and Müller on Newton, Goethe, and Underdetermination.Gábor Zemplén - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (4):533-549.
    Olaf Müller’s book develops a new case for underdetermination, and, as he is focusing on theories of a ‘limited domain’, this assumes the containability of the theories. First, the paper argues that Müller’s theory of darkness is fundamentally Newtonian, but for Newton’s optical theory the type of theoretical structure Müller adopts is problematic. Second, the paper discusses seventeenth-century challenges to Newton, changes in the proof-structure of Newton’s optical theory, and how these affect Müller’s reconstruction. Müller’s book provides empirically equivalent theories, (...)
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  18. Delimiting the Unconceived.Richard Dawid - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (5):492-506.
    It has been argued in Dawid that physicists at times generate substantial trust in an empirically unconfirmed theory based on observations that lie beyond the theory’s intended domain. A crucial role in the reconstruction of this argument of “non-empirical confirmation” is played by limitations to scientific underdetermination. The present paper discusses the question as to how generic the role of limitations to scientific underdetermination really is. It is argued that assessing such limitations is essential for generating trust in any theory’s (...)
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  19. Scientific Realism Meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory.
    I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...)
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  20. The Inherent Empirical Underdetermination of Mental Causation.Michael Baumgartner - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):335-350.
    It has become a popular view among non-reductive physicalists that it is possible to devise empirical tests generating evidence for the causal efficacy of the mental, whereby the exclusion worries that have haunted the position of non-reductive physicalism for decades can be dissolved once and for all. This paper aims to show that these evidentialist hopes are vain. I argue that, if the mental is taken to supervene non-reductively on the physical, there cannot exist empirical evidence for its causal efficacy. (...)
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  21. Underdetermination.Dana Tulodziecki - 2017 - In Juha Saatsi (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Scientific Realism.
  22. Underdetermination in Science: What It Is and Why We Should Care.Margaret Greta Turnbull - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (2):e12475.
    The underdetermination of scientific theory choice by evidence is a familiar but multifaceted concept in the philosophy of science. I answer two pressing questions about underdetermination: “What is underdetermination?” and “Why should we care about underdetermination?” To answer the first question, I provide a general definition of underdetermination, identify four forms of underdetermination, and discuss major criticisms of each form. To answer the second question, I then survey two common uses of underdetermination in broader arguments against scientific realism and in (...)
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  23. Aesthetic Values in Science.Milena Ivanova - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12433.
    Scientists often use aesthetic values in the evaluation and choice of theories. Aesthetic values are not only regarded as leading to practically more useful theories but are often taken to stand in a special epistemic relation to the truth of a theory such that the aesthetic merit of a theory is evidence of its truth. This paper explores what aesthetic considerations influence scientists' reasoning, how such aesthetic values relate to the utility of a scientific theory, and how one can justify (...)
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  24. An Empirical Route to Logical 'Conventionalism'.Eugene Chua - 2017 - In Alexandru Baltag, Jeremy Seligman & Tomoyuki Yamada (eds.), Logic, Rationality, and Interaction. LORI 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10455. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 631-636.
    The laws of classical logic are taken to be logical truths, which in turn are taken to hold objectively. However, we might question our faith in these truths: why are they true? One general approach, proposed by Putnam [8] and more recently Dickson [3] or Maddy [5], is to adopt empiricism about logic. On this view, logical truths are true because they are true of the world alone – this gives logical truths an air of objectivity. Putnam and Dickson both (...)
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  25. Evidential Holism.Joe Morrison - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (6):e12417.
    Evidential holism begins with something like the claim that “it is only jointly as a theory that scientific statements imply their observable consequences.” This is the holistic claim that Elliott Sober tells us is an “unexceptional observation”. But variations on this “unexceptional” claim feature as a premise in a series of controversial arguments for radical conclusions, such as that there is no analytic or synthetic distinction that the meaning of a sentence cannot be understood without understanding the whole language of (...)
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  26. Can Theoretical Underdetermination Support the Indeterminacy of Translation? Revisiting Quine's ‘Real Ground’: Sophie R. Allen.Sophie R. Allen - 2010 - Philosophy 85 (1):67-90.
    It is commonly believed that Quine's principal argument for the Indeterminacy of Translation requires an untenably strong account of the underdetermination of theories by evidence, namely that that two theories may be compatible with all possible evidence for them and yet incompatible with each other. In this article, I argue that Quine's conclusion that translation is indeterminate can be based upon the weaker, uncontroversial conception of theoretical underdetermination, in conjunction with a weak reading of the ‘Gavagai’ argument which establishes the (...)
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  27. Underdetermination Versus Indeterminacy.Juan José Lara Peñaranda - 2009 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 47:219-228.
  28. Underdetermination in Cosmology: An Invitation.Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):1-18.
    I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates underdetermination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I confine the discussion to the history of the observable universe from about one second after the Big Bang, as described by the mainstream cosmological model: in effect, what cosmologists in the early 1970s dubbed the ‘standard model’, as elaborated since then. Or rather, the discussion is confined to a few aspects of that history. I emphasize that despite the (...)
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  29. The Principle of Economy as an Evaluation Criterion of Theories.Styrman Avril - 2014 - la Nuova Critica 63:63-89.
    The principle of economy favours the theory which gives the most accurate predictions; of two equally accurate theories, economy favours the one which incorporates least metaphysics. The intention is to show that were metaphysical commitments of theories openly acknowledged and simplicity and other virtues generally accepted as judges in theory choice, the progress rate of science would likely become more optimal.
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  30. Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination.Larry Laudan & Jarrett Leplin - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (9):449.
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  31. Theories of Properties and Ontological Theory-Choice: An Essay in Metaontology.Christopher Gibilisco - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    This dissertation argues that we have no good reason to accept any one theory of properties as correct. To show this, I present three possible bases for theory-choice in the properties debate: coherence, explanatory adequacy, and explanatory value. Then I argue that none of these bases resolve the underdetermination of our choice between theories of properties. First, I argue considerations about coherence cannot resolve the underdetermination, because no traditional theory of properties is obviously incoherent. Second, I argue considerations of explanatory (...)
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  32. What You Don’T Know Can’T Hurt You: Realism and the Unconceived.Anjan Chakravartty - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):149-158.
    Two of the most potent challenges faced by scientific realism are the underdetermination of theories by data, and the pessimistic induction based on theories previously held to be true, but subsequently acknowledged as false. Recently, Stanford (2006, Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press) has formulated what he calls the problem of unconceived alternatives: a version of the underdetermination thesis combined with a historical argument of the same form as the pessimistic induction. (...)
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  33. Can We Justifiably Assume the Cosmological Principle in Order to Break Model Underdetermination in Cosmology?Claus Beisbart - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):175-205.
    If cosmology is to obtain knowledge about the whole universe, it faces an underdetermination problem: Alternative space-time models are compatible with our evidence. The problem can be avoided though, if there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle (CP), because, assuming the principle, one can confine oneself to the small class of homogeneous and isotropic space-time models. The aim of this paper is to ask whether there are good reasons to adopt the Cosmological Principle in order to avoid underdetermination (...)
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  34. Realism and Underdetermination: Some Clues From the Practices-Up.Alberto Cordero - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S301-S312.
    Recent attempts to turn Standard Quantum Theory into a coherent representational system have improved markedly over previous offerings. Important questions about the nature of material systems remain open, however, as current theorizing effectively resolves into a multiplicity of incompatible statements about the nature of physical systems. Specifically, the most cogent proposals to date land in effective empirical equivalence, reviving old anti-realist fears about quantum physics. In this paper such fears are discussed and found unsound. It is argued that nothing of (...)
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  35. Virtues and Vices in Scientific Practice.Cedric Paternotte & Milena Ivanova - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    The role intellectual virtues play in scientific inquiry has raised significant discussions in the recent literature. A number of authors have recently explored the link between virtue epistemology and philosophy of science with the aim to show whether epistemic virtues can contribute to the resolution of the problem of theory choice. This paper analyses how intellectual virtues can be beneficial for successful resolution of theory choice. We explore the role of virtues as well as vices in scientific inquiry and their (...)
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  36. Contrast, Inference and Scientific Realism.Mark Day & George S. Botterill - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):249-267.
    The thesis of underdetermination presents a major obstacle to the epistemological claims of scientific realism. That thesis is regularly assumed in the philosophy of science, but is puzzlingly at odds with the actual history of science, in which empirically adequate theories are thin on the ground. We propose to advance a case for scientific realism which concentrates on the process of scientific reasoning rather than its theoretical products. Developing an account of causal–explanatory inference will make it easier to resist the (...)
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  37. Conventionalism About What? Where Duhem and Poincaré Part Ways.Milena Ivanova - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 54:80-89.
    This paper examines whether, and in what contexts, Duhem’s and Poincaré’s views can be regarded as conventionalist or structural realist. After analysing the three different contexts in which conventionalism is attributed to them – in the context of the aim of science, the underdetermination problem and the epistemological status of certain principles – I show that neither Duhem’s nor Poincaré’s arguments can be regarded as conventionalist. I argue that Duhem and Poincaré offer different solutions to the problem of theory choice, (...)
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