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::: center home >> events >> conferences 2008-09 >> underdetermination >> abstracts

On the Roots and Consequences of Underdetermination
Nicholas Rescher
Dept of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Three importantly different things can be at issue in deliberating about underdetermination:

(1) The underdetermination of nature’s laws by the observational data. (This is inductive underdetermination.)

(2) The underdetermination of laws by the phenomena (i.e., even by a complete access to the phenomena if, per impossible, we could obtain it).

(3) The underdetermination of the phenomena by nature’s laws (i.e., by a complete access to the world’s law structure even if, per impossible, we actually knew this).

Most discussion of underdetermination focus upon the first and thereby address the inductive and epistemological aspect of underdetermination. However, the present discussion will focus upon (2) and (3) and will deliberate about their philosophical significance and interest.

Revised 1/6/09 - Copyright 2008