Duhem-Quine Thesis Popper

The subjective Bayesians' appeal to subjective prior probabilities (degrees of belief) accentuates rather than meets this challenge.Bayesians typically argue that, in the long run, the prior probabilities wash out: even widely different prior probabilities will converge, in the limit, to the same posterior probability, if agents conditionalize on the same evidence.

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That is, the evidence can raise the probability of a theory.

So inductive underdetermination must rest on some arguments that question the confirmatory role of the evidence vis--vis the theory.

What is the epistemic problem it is supposed to create?

Given that the link is not deductive, it is claimed that we can never justifiably believe in the truth of a theory, no matter what the evidence is.

However, it would be folly to think that deductive underdetermination creates a genuine epistemic problem.

There are enough reasons available for the claim that belief in theory can be justified even if the theory is not proven by the evidence: Warrant-conferring methods need not be deductive.In fact, given the fact that two or more rival theories are assigned different prior probabilities, the evidence can confirm one more than the others, or even make one highly probable.The challenge, then, is this: Where do these prior probabilities come from?For instance, no finite amount of evidence of the form Aa can entail an unrestricted universal generalization of the form All A's are B.Deductive underdetermination rests on the claim that the link between evidence and (interesting) theory is not deductive.A total denial of the legitimacy of any prior probabilities would amount to inductive skepticism.Inductive underdetermination would be inductive skepticism. The more interesting version of inductive underdetermination does not challenge the need to employ prior probabilities, but rather their epistemic credentials.Since theories entail observational consequences only with the aid of auxiliary assumptions, and since the available auxiliary assumptions may change over time, the set of observational consequences of a theory is not circumscribed once and for all.Hence, even if, for the time being, two (or more) theories entail the same observational consequences, there may be future auxiliary assumptions such that, when conjoined with one of them, they yield fresh observational consequences that can shift the evidential balance in favor of it over its rivals.Deductive underdetermination speaks against simplistic accounts of the hypothetico-deductive method, which presuppose that the epistemic warrant for a theory is solely a matter of entailing correct observational consequences.Two or more rival theories (together with suitable initial conditions) may entail exactly the same observational consequences.


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