MAPS: Updated Schedule – Fall 2021

Kevin Coffey (NYU)
5:30-7:30pm (EST), Wednesday, Dec 8

Title: Theory Underdetermination and Structural Realism

Abstact: The threat of theory underdetermination remains an oft-cited challenge to scientific realism. Why think belief in a particular theory is justified if there are (or likely are) alternative theories equally adequate to the empirical data? In recent years, some philosophers have argued that one particular form of realism—structural realism—is uniquely situated to defuse this threat, going so far as to use considerations of underdetermination as a positive reason to adopt structural realism over competing forms of realism. In this talk I’ll explore the adequacy of these arguments, and the relationship between underdetermination and structural realism more generally. I’ll argue that, far from undermining the underdetermination argument, structural realism is in fact more susceptible to underdetermination concerns than other forms of scientific realism.

The talk will be on Zoom. All are welcome to attend!

The zoom link will be distributed through the MAPS mailing list. If you are not on the MAPS mailing list and would like to receive the Zoom link for the talk, please email

Edit: The talk has been rescheduled for 5:30pm EST. Please change your calendars!

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