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From a Deflationary Point of View$
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Paul Horwich

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251261

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199251266.001.0001

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How to Choose Between Empirically Indistinguishable Theories

How to Choose Between Empirically Indistinguishable Theories

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 How to Choose Between Empirically Indistinguishable Theories
Source:
From a Deflationary Point of View
Author(s):

Paul Horwich (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199251266.003.0004

The problem of underdetermination involves the questions: (1) Can incompatible total theories have the same testable questions? (2) If so, could there ever be a reason to choose between them? This essay develops an approach to this problem. It argues that there are many instances of underdetermination for which inductivism is inadequate. In such cases, it may be known which, or if any, of the incompatible theories is true without appealing to the positivistic doctrine of analytic bridge statements. The problem of underdetermination can be solved even if the observation/theory is discarded.

Keywords:   problem of underdetermination, inductivism, incompatible total theories, positivism, analytic bridge

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