Duhem and Quine



The rejection of the idea that the so-called Duhem-Quine thesis in fact expresses a thesis upheld by either Duhem or Quine invites a more detailed comparison of their views. It is suggested that the arguments of each have a certain impact on the positions maintained by the other. In particular, Quine's development of his notion of ontological commitment is enlisted in the interpretation of Duhem's position. It is argued that this counts against the instrumentalist construal usually put on what Duhem says about approximation and historical continuity.