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TitleCan Theories be Refuted? [electronic resource] : Essays on the Duhem-Quine Thesis / edited by Sandra G. Harding
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 1976
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Descript XXI, 323 p. online resource


According to a view assumed by many scientists and philosophers of science and standardly found in science textbooks, it is controlled exยญ perience which provides the basis for distinguishing between acceptable and unacceptable theories in science: acceptable theories are those which can pass empirical tests. It has often been thought that a certain sort of test is particularly significant: 'crucial experiments' provide supporting empiriยญ cal evidence for one theory while providing conclusive evidence against another. However, in 1906 Pierre Duhem argued that the falsification of a theory is necessarily ambiguous and therefore that there are no crucial experiments; one can never be sure that it is a given theory rather than auxiliary or background hypotheses which experiment has falsified. w. V. Quine has concurred in this judgment, arguing that "our statements about the external world face the tribunal of sense experience not indiยญ vidually but only as a corporate body". Some philosophers have thought that the Duhem-Quine thesis graยญ tuitously raises perplexities. Others see it as doubly significant; these philosophers think that it provides a base for criticism of the foundational view of knowledge which has dominated much of western thought since Descartes, and they think that it opens the door to a new and fruitful way to conceive of scientific progress in particular and of the nature and growth of knowledge in general


Physical Theory and Experiment -- Two Dogmas of Empiricism -- Empiricist Criteria of Cognitive Significance: Problems and Changes -- Some Fundamental Problems in the Logic of Scientific Discovery -- Background Knowledge and Scientific Growth -- The Duhemian Argument -- A Comment on Grรผnbaumโ{128}{153}s Claim -- Scientific Revolutions as Changes of World View -- Grรผnbaum on โ{128}{152}The Duhemian Argumentโ{128}{153} -- Quine, Grรผnbaum, and the Duhemian Thesis -- Duhem, Quine and Grรผnbaum on Falsification -- Duhem, Quine and a New Empiricism -- Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes -- Is it never Possible to Falsify a Hypothesis Irrevocably? -- The Rationality of Science (Fromโ{128}{152}Against Methodโ{128}{153}) -- Index of Names

Philosophy Philosophy and science Philosophy Philosophy of Science


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