Ivanova, Milena, and . Pierre Duhem’s Good Sense as a Guide to Theory Choice

2010, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science part A 41(1): 58-64.

Abstract: This paper examines Duhem’s concept of good sense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. The author examines the concept of good sense and the problems that stem from it. The paper presents a recent attempt by David Stump to link good sense to virtue epistemology. It is argued that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of good sense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. The athor proposes a possible way to interpret the concept of good sense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of good sense.

Comment: Interesting article that could serve as further reading in both epistemology courses and philosophy of science classes. Really good as an in-depth study of Duhem's views on scientific method. Recommendable for postgraduates or senior undergraduates.