Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usFaculty of PhilosophyEducationThesis summaries

Verhaegh, A.A.

Author: Sander Verhaegh
Graduation Year: 2010 (Research master)
Department: Theoretical Philosophy
Title: The Duhem-Quine Thesis; Its Nature and Its Scope

A much-discussed subject within the philosophy of science is the Duhem-Quine thesis, i.e. the idea that hypotheses cannot be tested in isolation but only in conjunction with our background theories. The thesis was first presented by Pierre Duhem in his La Théorie physique: son objet, sa structure (1914) and later popularized through the works of Willard Van Orman Quine. I argue that much of the controversy surrounding the thesis is caused by (1) ignorance about its exact nature and (2) unclarity about its scope. By going back to the writings of both Duhem and Quine, I show that these disagreements about the thesis are based on mistaken presuppositions. I conclude by showing that the thesis is in fact a plausible and elegant idea about the logic of theory testing.
Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2013 14:04