The underdetermination of theory by evidence deserves to be taken seriously. But what are the consequences of doing so, for scientific theorizing in general, for realism in particular, and for scientific explanation? Underdetermination ratifies a broadly anti-realist (nominalist) position on the question of scientific theorizing. This position has radical implications when applied to scientific explanation. The accepted hierarchy between different levels of explanation is called into question, as is the doctrine of explanatory exclusion. There emerge many competing nomological explanatory accounts, and competing reductive bases. Underdetermination thus has profound implications for some of the most basic questions in the philosophy of science, when taken seriously.
© Philosophia Press 2003