Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2005

DOI

10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.07.005

Abstract

Debates about the underdetermination of theory by data often turn on specific examples. Many cases are invoked often enough that they become familiar, even well-worn. Here I consider one such commonplace: the connection between prenatal hormone levels and gender-linked childhood behavior. Since Helen Longino's original discussion of this case a decade-and-a-half ago, it has become become one of the stock examples of underdetermination. However, the case is not genuinely underdetermined. We can easily imagine a possible experiment to decide the question. The fact that we would not perform this experiment is a moral, rather than epistemic, point. Further, I argue that Longino need not have appealed to 'underdetermination' to establish her central claim about the case.

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