Don’t Know What Their Own Theories Say...
and It’s a Good Thing Too"
Causal hypotheses (causal law statements, if you like) attempt
to correctly describe the causal structure of nature. I propose
an externalist account of the meaning of causal hypotheses, that is, an
account on which their meaning is determined in part by factors that
none of the scientists who formulate them can articulate. A consequence
of this view is that scientists may not know, in some sense, what
hypotheses they are proposing, and so may not know whether one of their
hypotheses has been confirmed or falsified by the evidence. This
sounds strange, but on a certain understanding of the role played by
causal hypotheses in the scientific enterprise, it turns out to make