Philosophical Studies

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Recurrent transient underdetermination and the glass half full

  • Peter Godfrey-Smith


Kyle Stanford’s arguments against scientific realism are assessed, with a focus on the underdetermination of theory by evidence. I argue that discussions of underdetermination have neglected a possible symmetry which may ameliorate the situation.


Theory Evidence Scientific realism Underdetermination Approximate truth 


  1. Godfrey-Smith, P. (2003). Theory and reality: An introduction to the philosophy of science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Godfrey-Smith, P. (forthcoming). Popper’s philosophy of science: Looking ahead. Cambridge Companion to Karl Popper (to appear).Google Scholar
  3. Hilpinen, R. (1976). Approximate truth and truthlikeness. In M. Przelecki et al. (Eds.), Formal methods in the methodology of the empirical sciences. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  4. Hull, D. (1988). Science as a process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kitcher, P. S. (1993). The advancement of science. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Oddie, G. (2001). Truthlikeness. In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.
  8. Psillos, S. (1999). Scientific realism: How science tracks truth. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Stanford, K. (2006). Exceeding our grasp: Science, history, and the problem of unconceived alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Strevens, M. (2003). The role of the priority rule in science. Journal of Philosophy, 100, 55–79.Google Scholar
  11. Tichý, P. (1974). On Popper’s definitions of verisimilitude. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 25, 155–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations