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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-Q112-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

The term underdetermination refers to a broad family of arguments about the relations between theory and evidence. All share the conclusion that evidence is more or less impotent to guide choice between rival theories or hypotheses. In one or other of its guises, underdetermination has probably been the most potent and most pervasive idea driving twentieth-century forms of scepticism and epistemological relativism. It figures prominently in the writing of diverse influential philosophers. It is a complex family of doctrines, each with a different argumentative structure. Most, however, suppose that only the logical consequences of a hypothesis are relevant to its empirical support. This supposition can be challenged.

Citing this article:
Laudan, Larry. Underdetermination, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-Q112-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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