Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science

Underdetermination

An Essay on Evidence and the Limits of Natural Knowledge

Authors: Bonk, Thomas

  • Readable introduction to the controversy
  • Balanced analysis
  • Important topic in philosophy of science
  • Up-to-date, timely
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About this book

Underdetermination. An Essay on Evidence and the Limits of Natural Knowledge is a wide-ranging study of the thesis that scientific theories are systematically "underdetermined" by the data they account for. This much-debated thesis is a thorn in the side of scientific realists and methodologists of science alike and of late has been vigorously attacked. After analyzing the epistemological and ontological ascpects of the controversy in detail, and reviewing pertinent logical facts and selected scientific cases, Bonk carefully examines the merits of arguments for and against the thesis. Along the way, he investigates methodological proposals and recent theories of confirmation, which promise to discriminate among observationally equivalent theories on evidential grounds. He explores sympathetically but critically W.V.Quine and H.Putnam’s arguments for the thesis, the relationship between indeterminacy and underdetermination, and possibilities for a conventionalist solution. This book is of interest to anyone working in philosophy of science, and to those interested in the philosophy of Quine.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“The essay makes a useful reading not only for advanced students of analytical philosophy but also for philosophically minded scientists. … provides an impressively comprehensive coverage of an enduring philosophical conundrum. … Bonk’s knowledge of Quine’s vast work is truly remarkable. … also to be recommended to Quine fans … . Summing up, the book has a lot to recommend it. … it covers virtually everything that has ever been said about this topic. … this is an excellent book to have on your shelf.” (Sorin Bangu, Metascience, Vol. 20 (1), March, 2011)

“Thomas Bonk offers an analysis of the problem of underdetermination of theories by empirical quantitative data (observation and experiments). … Bonk offers in his book a very comprehensive and detailed analysis of UT. … Bonk investigates UT and its various consequences using several distinctions and analytic devices. … In general, Bonk’s book is an important contribution in the domain of contemporary philosophy of science.”­­­ (Jan Woleński, Erkenntnis, Vol. 74, 2011)


Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $209.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-6899-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $269.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-6898-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Underdetermination
Book Subtitle
An Essay on Evidence and the Limits of Natural Knowledge
Authors
Series Title
Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science
Series Volume
261
Copyright
2008
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-1-4020-6899-7
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4020-6899-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4020-6898-0
Series ISSN
0068-0346
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 297
Topics