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 According to the Duhem-Quine thesis, after Pierre Duhem

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jancancook
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Nombre de messages : 671
Date d'inscription : 04/01/2011

MessageSujet: According to the Duhem-Quine thesis, after Pierre Duhem   Lun 7 Nov - 14:45

According to the Duhem-Quine thesis, after Pierre Duhem and W.V. Quine, it is impossible to test a theory in isolation. One must always add auxiliary hypotheses in order to make testable predictions. For example, to test Newton's Law of Gravitation in our solar system, one needs information about the masses and positions of the Sun and all the planets. Famously, the failure to predict the orbit of Uranus in the 19th century led, not to the rejection of Newton's Law, but rather to the rejection of the hypothesis that there are only seven planets in our solar system. The investigations that followed led to the discovery of an eighth planet, Neptune. If a test fails, something is wrong. But there is a problem in figuring out what that something is: a missing planet, badly calibrated test equipment, an unsuspected curvature of space, etc.



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