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Duhem Before Breakfast

Wilson, Mark (2007) Duhem Before Breakfast. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    This essay traces some of Pierre Duhem's motives for his celebrated "Quine- Duhem thesis" to a specific worry about theory underdetermination that arises within classical mechanics, concerned with the rivalry between Duhem's own thermomechanical approach and the more narrowly "mechanical" treatment pursued by Hertz and others. In the context of the treatments of "physical infinitesimals" common at the time, these two approaches seem empirically indistinguishable. After an exposition of the basic issues, this alleged "underdetermination" is then evaluated from a more modern perspective.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quine-Duhem thesis, undeterdetermination of theory, idealization, infinitesimals, classical physics
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
    General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
    General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
    Depositing User: mark wilson
    Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3373
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3373

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