The Principle of StabilitySkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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How can inferences from models to the phenomena they represent be justified when those models represent only imperfectly? Pierre Duhem considered just this problem, arguing that inferences from mathematical models of phenomena to real physical applications must also be demonstrated to be approximately correct when the assumptions of the model are only approximately true. Despite being little discussed among philosophers, this challenge was taken up (if only sometimes implicitly) by mathematicians and physicists both contemporaneous with and subsequent to Duhem, yielding a novel and rich mathematical theory of stability with epistemological consequences.