Old‐Age and New‐Age Holism

Peter Achinstein

in The Book of Evidence

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143898
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833023 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science

 Old‐Age and New‐Age Holism

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Evidential holism, espoused by Pierre Duhem and W.V. Quine, is the view that nothing can be evidence for or against an isolated hypothesis, but only for or against some group of hypotheses. The arguments of Duhem and Quine are examined and rejected. Another version of holism (”new‐age”), which requires that evidence for a hypothesis always be relativized to a set of hypotheses, is then critically evaluated using the concept of potential evidence.

Keywords: Duhem; Duhem‐Quine; evidence; evidential holism; holism; potential evidence; Quine; Quine‐Duhem

Chapter.  5810 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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