Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

Theory And Observation The Duhem Quine Thesis Notes

PPE Notes > Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Social Science Notes

This is an extract of our Theory And Observation The Duhem Quine Thesis document, which we sell as part of our Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Social Science Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford University students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Social Science Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

The Duhem-Quine Thesis The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory - Duhem
? Instrumentalist: "The sole purpose of physical theory is to provide a representation and classification of experimental laws; the only test permitting us to judge a physical theory and pronounce it good or bad is the comparison between the consequences of this theory and the experimental laws it has to represent and classify."
? "[I]n the mind of the physicist there are constantly present two sorts of apparatus: one is the concrete apparatus in glass and metal, manipulated by him, the other is the schematic and abstract apparatus which theory substitutes for the concrete apparatus and on which the physicist does his reasoning."
? "[T]he physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses; when the experiment is in disagreement with his predictions, what he learns is that at least one of the hypotheses constituting this group is unacceptable and ought to be modified; but the experiment does not designate which one should be changed."
? "We recognize a correct principle by the facility with which it straightens out the complicated difficulties into which the use of erroneous principles brought us."
? There is "no absolute principle" concerning when a hypothesis ought to be abandoned in the face of evidence. 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism' - Quine
? The two dogmas:

1. Belief in a fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truths which are synthetic, or grounded in fact.

2. Reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience.
? You can't get a good definition for analyticity. First: "the notion of self-contradictoriness, in the quite broad sense needed for this definition of analyticity, stands in exactly the same need of clarification as does the notion of analyticity itself. The two notions are the two sides of a single dubious coin."
? Second attempt would be to follow Kant and say that a statement is analytic when it's true by virtue of meanings and independently of fact. o But: "Once the theory of meaning is sharply separated from the theory of reference, it is a short step to recognizing as the primary business of the theory of meaning simply the synonymy of linguistic forms and the analyticity of statements; meanings themselves, as obscure intermediary entities, may well be abandoned."
? So we have the problem of analyticity again.
? Carnap tried to explain analyticity by appeal to 'state-descriptions' (an exhaustive assignment of truth values to the atomic statements of the language) > a statement is analytic when it comes out true under every state description. o BUT this only works for languages devoid of extralogical synonym pairs such as 'bachelor' and 'unmarried man'.

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Social Science Notes.