PhilSci Archive

Monist and pluralist approaches on underdetermination: a case study in evolutionary microbiology

Bonnin, Thomas (2020) Monist and pluralist approaches on underdetermination: a case study in evolutionary microbiology.

[img] Text (Full version on request at thomas.bonnin.hps@gmail.com)
Bonnin T. (2020) - Monist and Pluralist Approaches on Underdetermination.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 28 September 2021.

Download (689kB)

Abstract

Philosophers have usually highlighted how the weakness and paucity of historical evidence underdetermine the choice between rival historical explanations. Focusing underdetermination on the link between theory and evidence comes, I argue, with three assumptions: (a) competing hypotheses are easy to generate, (b) investigators agree on the constitution and interpretation of the evidence and (c) a plurality of hypotheses is a useful evil to reach consensus. The last assumption implies that the sustained coexistence of incompatible hypotheses is considered as a scientific failure. I argue that this negative vision of sustained disagreement has monistic undertones. By drawing from a case study in evolutionary biology, this paper defends a form of scientific pluralism. Firstly, I show that underdetermination is not only found at the inferential level but also (a) at the level of the constitution and interpretation of the evidence, (b) on the choice of investigative scaffolds and (c) when interpreting background theories. Because of that, competing hypotheses exhibit a degree of methodological incommensurability. While catastrophic from a monistic standpoint, I defend that scientific pluralism gives a different, and I think richer, account of such situations. On the plus side, competing approaches benefit from their sustained coexistence and interaction. I argue that this generates direct and indirect epistemic goods independently of whether the controversy is solved. Scientific pluralism also shifts our attention from achieving consensus to managing disagreement. The challenge becomes to maintain the conditions for fruitful interactions in a community with incommensurable approaches and heterogeneous expertise.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bonnin, Thomasthomas.bonnin.hps@gmail.com0000-0002-5243-3073
Keywords: Scientific pluralism; scientific monism; underdetermination; evolutionary biology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Thomas Bonnin
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2020 14:06
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2020 14:06
Item ID: 18202
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10838-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10838-020-09513-7
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 28 September 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18202

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item