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There is no such thing as the Duhem-Quine Thesis.

The Duhem-Quine Thesis

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A First Look: Duhem, Quine, and the Problems of Underdetermination.

From this and similar examples, Duhem drew the quite generalconclusion that our response to the experimental or observationalfalsification of a theory is always underdetermined in this way. Whenthe world does not live up to our theory-grounded expectations, wemust give up something, but because no hypothesis is evertested in isolation, no experiment ever tells us precisely whichbelief it is that we must revise or give up as mistaken:

Duhem pointed out that the outcome .On Duhem's and Quine's Theses.

Of course, generating and testing fundamental scientific hypotheses israrely if ever a matter of finding curves that fit collections of datapoints, so nothing follows directly from this mathematical analogy forthe significance of contrastive underdetermination in most scientificcontexts. But Bas van Fraassen has offered an extremely influentialline of argument intended to show that such contrastiveunderdetermination is a serious concern for scientific theorizing moregenerally. In The Scientific Image (1980), van Fraassen usesa now-classic example to illustrate the possibility that even our bestscientific theories might have empirical equivalents: thatis, alternative theories making the very same empirical predictions,and which therefore cannot be better or worse supported by anypossible body of evidence. Consider Newton’s cosmology,with its laws of motion and gravitational attraction. As Newtonhimself realized, van Fraassen points out, exactly the samepredictions are made by the theory whether we assume that the entireuniverse is at rest or assume instead that it is moving with someconstant velocity in any given direction: from our position within it,we have no way to detect constant, absolute motion by the universe asa whole. Thus, van Fraassen argues, we are here faced with empiricallyequivalent scientific theories: Newtonian mechanics and gravitationconjoined either with the fundamental assumption that the universe isat absolute rest (as Newton himself believed), or with any one of aninfinite variety of alternative assumptions about the constantvelocity with which the universe is moving in some particulardirection. All of these theories make all and only the same empiricalpredictions, so no evidence will ever permit us to decide between themon empirical grounds.[]

P hilosophy of science Also called the Quine–Duhem thesis.

Koyré's work influenced Thomas Kuhn and others who made“scientific revolutions” a central feature of theirhistorical accounts. Still, the work of Kuhn and later historicallyoriented philosophers and sociologists of science did attempt toreintegrate the philosophical and historical studies that Duhem pursuedtogether but that were separated for a good part of the twentiethcentury.

We are thus brought back to fallibilism. But if we restrict ourselves to sense data, we are saddled with an additional problem. In our common experience we are given things, not sense data. Our ordinary language reflects this: we say that we see (hear, smell, taste, touch) things, whereas we have — and do not see — sense data. The problem, then, is how we reach out to external things starting from internal sense data. In response, we might implement two broad strategies. The first is to follow David Hume (1711-1776), who identified things with bundles of impressions or sensations, and to decree that a thing is simply a collection or association of possible sense data. The second strategy, inspired by Descartes, consists in arguing that sense data somehow resemble or represent real properties of things. Both strategies are clearly fraught with numerous and insuperable difficulties, among which we will mention only a few. First, the Humean must clarify the relation of association between sense data and explain how they “glue together,” so to speak. In addition, he must show how a thing – which our experience gives as external to us, and consequently is not given as a sense datum — can be reduced somehow to a mere collection of sense data. The Cartesian likewise does not find himself in any better position. He is confronted by two challenges, both of which appear equally formidable. The first is to provide a clear account of the resemblance between sense data and things. The second challenge, similar to the one faced by the Humeans, is to show how a thing can be reduced to a set of properties. We may conclude this discussion by recalling Husserl’s advice to simply abandon the notion of sense data and abide instead by his famous injunction, “Zu den Sachen!”: to return to the things themselves, as they are given to us in perception.

P hilosophy of science Also called the Quine-Duhem thesis.

Duhem's essays on Leonardo de Vinci concluded with aspeculation about the means for the transmission of medieval ideas tomodern science. Since the studies of Buridan and Oresme had remained inlarge part in manuscript, Duhem suggested that Albert of Saxony, whoseworks were printed and reprinted during the sixteenth century, was thelikely link to Galileo. Duhem's key to understanding thetransmission of medieval science was Galileo's use of the phraseDoctores Parisienses, a conventional label denoting Buridanand Oresme, among others. Based on evidence including references tocertain unusual doctrines and the particular order in which thequestions were arranged, Duhem conjectured that Galileo had consultedGeorge Lokert's compilation of Albert of Saxony, Themo Judaeus,and others, and the works of the Dominican Domingo de Soto (1906–13,III.582–83). Duhem's conjecture has been revised and expandedupon: The means of transmission has been made clearer because of thelabor of A. C. Crombie, Adriano Carugo, and William Wallace.

One way to see why not is to consider an analogy that champions ofcontrastive underdetermination have sometimes used to support theircase. If we consider any finite group of data points, an elementaryproof reveals that there are an infinite number of distinctmathematical functions describing different curves that will passthrough all of them. As we add further data to our initial set we willdefinitively eliminate functions describing curves which no longercapture all of the data points in the new, larger set, but no matterhow much data we accumulate, the proof guarantees that there willalways be an infinite number of functions remaining thatdefine curves including all the data points in the new set and whichwould therefore seem to be equally well supported by the empiricalevidence. No finite amount of data will ever be ableto narrow the possibilities down to just a single function or indeed,any finite number of candidate functions, from which the distributionof data points we have might have been generated. Each new data pointwe gather eliminates an infinite number of curves thatpreviously fit all the data (so the problem here is not theholist’s challenge that we do not know which beliefs to give upin response to failed predictions or disconfirming evidence), but alsoleaves an infinite number still in contention.

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  • Duhem specifically states that the

    The basic problem is that individual .Correspondence Rule and Qunie-duhem theory.

  • A First Look: Duhem, Quine, and the Problems of Underdetermination

    A popular criticism of Karl Popper is that his criterion of falsifiability runs aground on the Duhem-Quine thesis.

  • Underdetermination Thesis, Duhem-Quine Thesis - …

    Duhem–Quine thesis - Wikipedia

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Pierre Duhem (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Duhem presented Galilean dynamics as a continuous development out ofmedieval dynamics. He recovered the late medieval theory of impetus,tracing it from John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotle to itsmature statements in the fourteenth century works of John Buridan andNicole Oresme: “The role that impetus played in Buridan'sdynamics is exactly the one that Galileo attributed to impetoor momento, Descartes to ‘quantity of motion,’ andLeibniz finally to vis viva. So exact is thiscorrespondence that, in order to exhibit Galileo's dynamics,Torricelli, in his Lezioni accademiche, often took upBuridan's reasons and almost his exact words” (1917, 163–62;1996, 194). Duhem then sketched the extension of impetus theory fromterrestrial dynamics to the motions of the heavens and earth:

Is the Duhem-Quine "problem" really a problem

From 1906 to 1913, Duhem delved deeply into his favorite guide for therecovery of the past, the scientific notebooks of Leonardo de Vinci. Hepublished a series of essays uncovering de Vinci's medievalsources and their influences on the moderns. The third volume ofDuhem's Etudes sur Léonard de Vinci gained a newsubtitle, Les précurseurs parisiens de Galilée,announcing Duhem's bold new thesis that even the works of Galileohad a medieval heritage; reviewing his historical accomplishments,Duhem summarized them as follows:

If the Duhem-Quine thesis is really that we can ..

With work such as Whewell's being typical of Duhem'sintellectual context, when Duhem wrote L'évolution dela mécanique, in 1903, he dismissed the Middle Ages asscientifically sterile. Similarly, Duhem's history of chemicalcombination, Le mixte et la combinaison chimique, published inbook-form in 1902, had jumped from Aristotle's concept ofmixtio to modern concepts. It was only in 1904, while writingLes origines de la statique that Duhem came across an unusualreference to a then-unknown medieval thinker, Jordanus de Nemore. Hispursuit of this reference, and the research to which it led, is widelyacknowledged to have created the field of the history of medievalscience. Where Duhem's previous histories had been silent,Les origines de la statique contained a number of chapters onmedieval science: one treated Jordanus de Nemore; another treated hisfollowers; a third argued their influence on Leonardo de Vinci. In thesecond volume, Duhem greatly extended his historical scope. Asexpected, he covered seventeenth-century statics, but he also returnedto the middle ages, spending four chapters on geostatics, including thework of Albert of Saxony in the fourteenth century. Les origines dela statique is thus a transition from Duhem's earlyconventional histories to the later work for which he is best known,Etudes sur Léonard de Vinci, and Le Systèmedu monde, in which his thesis of the continuity of late medievaland early modern science is fully displayed.

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