On under-determination in cosmology

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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, ISSN: 1355-2198, Vol: 46, Issue: 1, Page: 57-69

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Butterfield, Jeremy
Elsevier BV; Elsevier
Arts and Humanities; Physics and Astronomy
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article description
I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates under-determination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I emphasise cosmology's concern with what data could in principle be collected by a single observer (Section 2 ); and I give a broadly sceptical discussion of cosmology's appeal to the cosmological principle as a way of breaking the under-determination (Section 3 ).