Duhem discusses the Newtonian method

eight, Duhem asks the question whether certain

P hilosophy of science Also called the Quine–Duhem thesis

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. When the 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 which beliefit is that we must revise or give up as mistaken:

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The Quine-Duhem Thesis by Shade' Lovett on Prezi

discussion about untestables and unobservables with relation to philosophy of science and science itself, also with relation to the Quine and Duhem thesis ...

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.

Quine-Duhem thesis


This essay traces some of Pierre Duhem's motives for his celebrated "Quine- Duhem thesis" to a specific worry about theory underdetermination that arises within classical mechanics, concerned with the rivalry between Duhem's own thermomechanical approach and the more narrowly "mechanical" treatment pursued by Hertz and others. In the context of the treatments of "physical infinitesimals" common at the time, these two approaches seem empirically indistinguishable. After an exposition of the basic issues, this alleged "underdetermination" is then evaluated from a more modern perspective. (2001)The Duhem thesis, the Quine thesis and the problem of meaning holism in scientific theories. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom). Does the Quine-Duhem thesis create insurmountable problems for Popper’s falsificationist methodology of science?



Karl Popper can be credited with positing an alternative, original methodology of science that escapes, it would appear, many of the Humean problems to induction. What follows is a careful examination of the falsificationist philosophy where it shall be shown that falsificationism is not as coherent a philosophy as one might think, and that the objection in the form of the Quine-Duhem thesis renders Popper’s position deeply precarious with few escape routes. The relation of observation experiences to language shall take a key place in this essay for it is here more than anywhere else that the debate shall be decided. The argument between realism and anti-realism shall not be gone into too deeply but, for the purpose of this essay, an anti-realist idea of science shall be presupposed in the sense that it will be taken that scientific knowledge is derived from factual statements and not from “things in themselves”. It shall be concluded that if scientific knowledge cannot transcend and escape the language or concepts that are employed in expressing it then the Quine-Duhem thesis really does invalidate falsificationism. But after closely looking at the implications of the Quine-Duhem and holism, it shall be shown that Quine and Duhem face severe objections and that upon one interpretation falsificationism can be seen as the means in which holism is justified i.e. how it faces the tribunal of experience en masse.

One striking similarity between Popper and Quine is that they were both fallibilists, i.e. they both argued against the absolute truth of scientific theories, theories were for Popper guesses or bold conjectures awaiting refutation. Popper took seriously Hume’s skepticism of induction and agreed that induction could not justify scientific knowledge; by adopting his falsifica... This essay traces some of Pierre Duhem's motives for his celebrated "Quine- Duhem thesis" to a specific worry about theory underdetermination that arises within classical mechanics, concerned with the rivalry between Duhem's own thermomechanical approach and the more narrowly "mechanical" treatment pursued by Hertz and others. In the context of the treatments of "physical infinitesimals" common at the time, these two approaches seem empirically indistinguishable. After an exposition of the basic issues, this alleged "underdetermination" is then evaluated from a more modern perspective.This essay traces some of Pierre Duhem's motives for his celebrated "Quine- Duhem thesis" to a specific worry about theory underdetermination that arises within classical mechanics, concerned with the rivalry between Duhem's own thermomechanical approach and the more narrowly "mechanical" treatment pursued by Hertz and others. In the context of the treatments of "physical infinitesimals" common at the time, these two approaches seem empirically indistinguishable. After an exposition of the basic issues, this alleged "underdetermination" is then evaluated from a more modern perspective.Through a detailed analysis of Duhem's writings some light is cast on the relations between holism, underdetermination and theory-ladenness of experimentation. The latter, which results from the need to interpret theoretically what is actually observed during an experiment, plays a key role in Duhem's analysis of the relation between observation and theory. I will argue that the theory-ladenness of experimentation on one hand provides a general argument for the holistic character of theory testing, and on the other renders problematic the thesis that theories are underdetermined by empirical evidence. A tension is found between Duhem's claim that the aim of theory is to save the phenomena and his analysis of the interpretative role of theory in experiments. I suggest how to overcome this difficulty by showing in what sense we can say that theory saves theory-laden phenomena. After stressing the differences between the Duhemian and the Quinean variants of holism, I argue that Quine fails to take into account the importance of the theory- ladenness of experimentation and the implications of Duhem's thought: Quine shares with the Logical Empiricists the belief that it is possible to detach from theories their empirical content. His acceptance of holism has simply the effect of restricting the attribution of empirical content only to conjunctions of many theoretical statements. I analyse and criticise the two notions of empirical content that Quine has developed. Furthermore I argue that there is no general theory-free expression of the experiential implications of a theory, for theories are logically connected to observable events only within local contexts defined theoretically and brought about by the activities of experimenters. Finally I suggest that, in the light of these considerations, the implications resulting from the possibility of rival incommensurable traditions of research should be discussed, rather than Quine's dilemma concerning empirically equivalent systems of the world.