Robustness, Reliability, and Overdetermination (1981)

  • William C. WimsattEmail author
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 292)


The use of multiple means of determination to “triangulate” on the existence and character of a common phenomenon, object, or result has had a long tradition in science but has seldom been a matter of primary focus. As with many traditions, it is traceable to Aristotle, who valued having multiple explanations of a phenomenon, and it may also be involved in his distinction between special objects of sense and common sensibles. It is implicit though not emphasized in the distinction between primary and secondary qualities from Galileo onward. It is arguably one of several conceptions involved in Whewell’s method of the “consilience of inductions” (Laudan 1971) and is to be found in several places in Peirce.


Scientific Theory Group Selection Robustness Analysis Heuristic Procedure Theoretical Structure 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Conceptual and Historical Studies of ScienceThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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