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加拿大作业:不确定性、工具主义与现实主义 Underdetermination, Instrumentalism and(2)

时间:2018-05-29 08:52来源:www.ukassignment.org 编辑:cinq 点击:
Under determination As we know that under determination is a thesis that is used in the discussion of theories and their relation to the evidence that is cited to support them.[1] Arguments from under
 
Under determination
As we know that under determination is a thesis that is “used in the discussion of theories and their relation to the evidence that is cited to support them”.[1] Arguments from under determination are used to support epistemic relativism by claiming that there is no good way to certify a theory based on any set of evidence. A theory is underdetermined if, given the available evidence, there is a rival theory which is inconsistent with the theory that is at least as consistent with the evidence. Moreover, under determination is treated an epistemological issue about the relation of evidence to conclusions.
 
Historical background
The subject gets its first attention by René Descartes, a French philosopher and mathematician in the 17th century. He presented two arguments related to under determination.
 
“While dreaming, perceived experiences (for example, falling) do not necessarily contain sufficient information to deduce the true situation (being in bed)”.[2] As we know that it is not always possible for a person to separate dreams from reality and the theory that what is real or dream at a certain time is underdetermined.
 
The second argument of Descartes's is called demon argument “which is a variant of the dream argument that posits that all of one's experiences and thoughts might be manipulated by a very powerful being (an "evil demon") that always deceives. Once again, so long as the perceived reality appears internally consistent to the limits of one's limited ability to tell, the situation is indistinguishable from reality, one cannot logically determine between correct beliefs from being misled; this is another version of under determination”.[2]
 
The second person who talks about under determination was David Hume, who does not use the word under determination specifically but an argument about the problem of induction. I will discuss the induction later in the essay while explaining the under determination types.
 
The Under determination thesis gets the recognition in the twentieth century through the work of Thomas S. Kuhn, who is a famous theoretical physicist and philosopher. He was very much prominent due to his work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that offered an alternative to linear models of scientific progress. According to Kuhn the under determination has a place to for argumentation against theories in the philosophy of science, and scientific realism. According to Khun the under determination can be divided into two types the weak and strong under determination. The both could be stated in the following words:
 
Weak underdetermined is that the currently available evidence is not sufficient to prove the argument, but some evidence that will be available in the future might do this.
 
Strong underdetermined is to claim that it is principally impossible to get evidence that could fully resolve the argument between the opponent theories.
 
Besides strong and weak underdetermined theory there are two other attributes called deductive and inductive under determination. The two rival theories could be deductively underdetermined when the available evidence does not completely deny either theory. The theory is inductively underdetermined when theories are compatible with the available evidence, but still tries to determine, which theory could be a better failure
 
A weak under determination can turn to a strong one if it avoids the attainment of future evidence that turns it into deductive under determination. A counter argument is that it is not possible for a theory to be accurately strong and inductive.
 
In general weak under determination arguments are focused on the availability of evidence for an explicit set of theories, and strong under determination mostly entails common epistemological arguments that relates to the type of evidence and its viability for a particular or general theory. Furthermore, it is generally acknowledged that all theories are weakly underdetermined, but in case of some specific purpose all theories are strongly underdetermined.
 
Explaining the types of under determination thesis, Ludan said that “for any finite body of evidence, there are indefinitely many mutually contrary theories, each of which logically entails the evidence”. So in other words it can be said that deductive under determination is under determination of selecting theory through a logical method.
 
Finally, the term under determination as thesis is associated with two respectable names Pierre Duhem and W.V. Quine in philosophy of science, “that neither the truth nor the falsity of any scientific theory is determined by evidence”.
 
According to Duhem-Quine Under determination is a “relation between evidence and theory. More accurately, it is a relation between the propositions that express the (relevant) evidence and the propositions that constitute the theory. Evidence is said to underdetermine theory”.
 
From the above it can be said that evidence is not enough to prove the theory, belief or truth. Moreover, only the availability of evidence is not enough to make the theory a credible one. In view of this we can call the first argument a deductive and the second inductive under determination. Hence, according to under determination thesis, both arguments have required some definite epistemic proposition, and belief in a theory could not be justified on the basis of evidence. For under determination types, Duhem, also said that “logic alone cannot take us from the falsification of a prediction to a refutation of an isolated hypothesis. Importantly, deductive under determination does not mean that theory choice is underdetermined, nor does it mean that there is more than one reasonable conclusion given certain experimental evidence”.
 
Up until now we have a basic understanding of the under determination thesis, so now I will discuss what realism actually is, the theoretical frame and the origin of the concept.
 
Another argument against scientific realism, deriving from the under determination problem, is not as historically motivated as these others. It claims that observational data can in principle be explained by multiple theories that are mutually incompatible. Realists counter by pointing out that there have been few actual cases of under determination in the history of science. Usually the requirement of explaining the data is so exacting that scientists are lucky to find even one theory that fulfils it.
 
Furthermore, if we take the under determination argument seriously, it implies that we can know about only what we have directly observed. For example, we could not theorize that dinosaurs once lived based on the fossil evidence because other theories (e.g., that the fossils are clever hoaxes) can account for the same data. Realists claim that, in addition to empirical adequacy, there are other criteria for theory choice, such as parsimony.
 
In particular, it must not be confused with what Newton-Smith takes to be a "minimal common factor among the wide range of philosophers who in recent years have advocated a realist construal of scientific theories". This common factor consists of the following theses:
 
(1) "Scientific theories are either true or false and which a given theory is, it is in virtue of how the world is",
 
(2) "If a theory is true, the theoretical terms of the theory denote theoretical entities which are causally responsible for the observable phenomenon whose occurrence is evidence for the theory",
 
(3) "We can have warranted beliefs (at least in principle) concerning the truth values of theories",
 
(4) "The historically generated sequence of theories of a mature science may well be a sequence of false theories but it is a sequence in which succeeding theories have greater truth-content and less falsity content than their predecessors". We may refer to (1) as the objectivity, (2) as the causality, (3) as the decidability, and (4) as the convergence of scientific theories.
 
Newton-Smith uses the name "realism" for the combination of these four theses, and he also seems to hold that this is the standard use of the term. It is clear that theoretical realism in the weakest sense entails neither objectivity, nor causality, nor decidability, nor convergence. In particular, some theoretical propositions may be true even if no scientific theory as a whole is either true or false.
 
Moreover, it is doubtful whether realism in Newton-Smith's sense entails theoretical realism. For example, if all theoretical propositions are false, then theoretical realism is false, but realism in Newton-Smith's sense might still be true. In any case, one of Newton-Smith's main theses is that realism in his sense has to be rejected if there can be cases of under determination. In particular, he claims that either objectivity or decidability has to be weakened if under determination can occur to give up decidability is what he calls the ignorance response (to under determination).
 
This "involves embracing the possibility of inaccessible facts - facts concerning whose obtaining we could have no information". To give up objectivity is what he calls the arrogance response. This "amounts to holding that if we cannot know about something there is nothing to know about". 36 Notice, that this holds only for under determination in Newton-Smith's sense, i.e. under determination by all possible data.


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