Theoretical Frameworks and Empirical Underdetermination Workshop


April 10-12 2008, University of Düsseldorf.
Workshop organisers: Gerhard Schurz and Ioannis Votsis


The aim of the workshop was to explore new and fruitful avenues concerning the empirical limits of scientific knowledge. It brought together some of the world’s leading experts in the scientific realism debate to discuss the latest developments in the field. Topics discussed included structural realism, underdetermination, empirical equivalence, the pessimistic meta-induction argument, the reference of scientific terms and inference to the best explanation. The programme commenced with a eulogy to the late Peter Lipton, who was originally scheduled to give a talk at the workshop. David Papineau who had known Peter for over twenty years gave the eulogy.


On this page you can access the material related to the workshop: photos, PowerPoint presentations (or PDFs), audio and video recordings, etc.


For photos from the workshop please click here.

For the workshop poster please click here.

For a published report that appeared in The Reasoner (vol. 2(6), pp. 5-6) please click here.


Presentations, audio and video recordings can be accessed below:

Thursday, April 10

09:30 – 09:40 Peter Lipton Eulogy by David Papineau

09:40 – 10:50 ‘Reduction or Elimination? and Why It Doesn't Matter’
David Papineau (King's College London)
Download: mp3

10:50 – 11:00 coffee break

11:00 – 12:10 ‘Structures, Inferences and Referents’
Ioannis Votsis (Duesseldorf)
Download: PPT / mp3

12:10 – 14:00 lunch break

14:00 – 15:10 ‘Structural versus Standard Realism: The Case of Phlogiston and the De-oxygenated Air’
James Ladyman (Bristol)
Download: PPT

15:10 – 15:20 coffee break

15:20 – 16:30 ‘When Empirical Success Implies Theoretical Reference: A Structural Correspondence Theorem’
Gerhard Schurz (Duesseldorf)
Download: PPT

16:30 – 16:40 coffee break

16:40 – 17:50 ‘Structural Realism and Quantum Mechanics’
F.A. Muller (Rotterdam & Utrecht)

Friday, April 11

09:30 – 10:40 ‘Transient Underdetermination and the Miracle Argument’
Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Hannover)
Download: PPT / mp3

10:40 – 10:50 coffee break

10:50 – 12:00 ‘The Role of the Underdetermination Argument in the Scientific Realism Debate’
Stathis Psillos (Athens)
Download: PPT / mp3

12:00 – 14:00 lunch break

14:00 – 15:10 ‘Why the Structural Realist has nothing to Fear from “Underdetermination” ’
John Worrall (London School of Economics)
Download: PPT / mp3

15:10 – 15:20 coffee break

15:20 – 16:30 ‘Underdetermination: Epistemological Impact and Methodological Role’
Martin Carrier (Bielefeld)
Download: PPT / mp3

16:30 – 16:40 coffee break

16:40 – 17:50 ‘Empirical Content and its Presuppositions’
Hannes Leitgeb (Bristol)
Download: PDF

18:15 – 19:45 Plenary Talk: ‘Carnap on Theoretical Terms: Structuralism without Metaphysics’
Michael Friedman (Stanford)
Download: PPT / Video


Saturday, April 12

09:30 – 10:40 ‘How the Growth of Evidence has Stopped Theory Change’
Ludwig Fahrbach (Duesseldorf)
Download: PPT

10:40 – 10:50 coffee break

10:50 – 12:00 ‘Is Structural Underdetermination Possible?’
Holger Lyre (Bonn)
Download: PPT / mp3

12:00 – 12:10 coffee break

12:10 – 13:20 ‘Metaphysical Underdetermination: Why Worry?’
Steven French (Leeds)
Download: PPT / mp3


The workshop was financed by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - German Research Foundation) as part of the research unit FOR600.