Metaphysical underdetermination: why worry?

Synthese 180 (2):205 - 221 (2011)

Abstract

Various forms of underdetermination that might threaten the realist stance are examined. That which holds between different 'formulations' of a theory (such as the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations of classical mechanics) is considered in some detail, as is the 'metaphysical' underdetermination invoked to support 'ontic structural realism'. The problematic roles of heuristic fruitfulness and surplus structure in attempts to break these forms of underdetermination are discussed and an approach emphasizing the relevant structural commonalities is defended.

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Steven French
University of Leeds

References found in this work

Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
Are Quantum Particles Objects?Simon Saunders - 2006 - Analysis 66 (1):52-63.
The “Structure” of Physics: A Case Study.Jill North - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):57-88.

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Citations of this work

Classical Mechanics Is Lagrangian; It Is Not Hamiltonian.Erik Curiel - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):269-321.
Time Remains.Sean Gryb & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):663-705.
A Primer on Energy Conditions.Erik Curiel - 2017 - In Dennis Lehmkuhl, Gregor Schiemann & Erhard Scholz (eds.), Towards a Theory of Spacetime Theories. Birkhäuser. pp. 43-104.

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