Rationality, Method, and Evidence
The deeper, explanatory and general features of our world are not accessable by direct observation. They require indirect epistemic access by way of a method of justification for our beliefs with respect to those explanatory features, or a method of confirmation for theoretical statements. Perhaps then empirical irresolvable conflicts of assertion, which are by necessity about those recondite, theoretical features of the world, can be traced back to relying on a faulty, “gullible” method of confirmation? This is what critics charge and the finger of blame has come to rest on a classical popular method of validation of theoretical beliefs: hypothetico-deductivism, or deductivism for short. Deductivism, in one of its many variants, holds indeed a central place in Quine’s epistemology. The present chapter examines this criticism along with a selection of alternative accounts designed to replace or significantly complement hypothetico-deductivism. I present reasons for why these accounts, promising as some of its results are, offer no general solution to the problems stemming from the underdetermination thesis at the present.
KeywordsMajor Premise Rival Theory Minor Premise Universal Gravitation Auxiliary Hypothesis
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