The Duhem-Quine thesis is an idea which undermines the idea of Falsificationism. This is a doctrine that I was quite fond of, I must admit, and so I was very sad to see it go.
This is an ideology that was espoused by noted individuals such as Karl Popper. This is the basic premise:
1. Science works by the means of modus tollens. Scientists make statments such as "If P then Q". If we know that Q is incorrect, then we know that P is incorrect by modus tollens. This is a sample rule of logic.
For example: If I go to the store, then I will buy a carrot. If I did not buy a carrot, then we know that I did not go to the store. The fact that I go to the story is supposed to be the theory, and the fact that I bought a carrot is considered evidence for this theory. Thus, if I did not buy a carrot, the theory that I went to the store has been falsified. Science then works by getting rid of all the bad theories and sticking with the ones that don't get falsified.
The thesis underminds falisifcationism by examining the structure of the antecedent. Which in "If P then Q" P is the antecedent and Q is the consequent. According to Duhem-Quine, a theory is much more complicated than the statement "I went to the store." A theory, such as Newtonian physics, has perhaps thousands of axioms and interpreatations of empirical observations. Thus, a better way to represent this statment would be "If P, R, S, T.....n then Q". Consequently, if it turns out that Q is incorrect, then ANY ONE OF THE ANTECEDENT STATMENTS COULD BE WRONG!. P, R, S, T...n could be incorrect in many ways. In fact, one could measure it mathematically by using combinations assuming there weren't an infinite number of antecedent statements. The more complicated the theory, the larger the number of combinations that could make the theory wrong.
Here is the kicker. If it turns out that Q, which is the consequent, is incorrect then it is equally valid for the researcher to assume that any of these combinations which falisfy the theory is correct. For example, if a planet is not where it is supposed to be in the Newtonian framework, a scientists could reject one part of Newtonian physics or just throw out the entire framework. This means that the theory has been underdetermined.
How in the face of such an observation is normal science to survive? The answer will be found in Kuhn's idea of normal science, which I will elaborate upon later.
What can Duhem-Quine and Underdetermination tell us about Informationalism? One must first determine how to categorize Informationalism. Is Informationalism a scientific theory?
This is difficult for me to answer at this point. I would prefer to say that Informationalism is a value-based method. A method that values science highly nonetheless. However, Informationalism is scientific in the sense that it is not afraid to be tested. If we do our best to increase both the amount and velocity of data in a society, the hypothesis is that this society will blossom with creativity. This creativity will manifest itsself in the increased ability of the society to manipulate its environment to attain ever higher concentrations and velocities of data. That is the theory, one must then determine the best ways to accomplish this, and perhaps debate philosopically whether that is actually the highest goal of humanity or not.
Informationalism takes this as a given. The production, accumulation, and distribution of Information is the highest goal of humanity.
How do we accomplish this?
1. The reduction of the terms of copyright laws and the extent of rights to intellectual property.
2. We continue to broaden the reach of the internet and teach people how to use it.
3. We invest in scientific research and development and ensure public education.
4. We pursue common forms of metrics and communication so that language and measuring barriers are reduced (while of course respecting the potential benefits of diversity locally).
5. By enforcing the concept of transparency in national and international politics, and between businesses and governments of the people.
6. Eroding national barriers to make capital, labor, and data more mobile.
7. Investing in infrastructure to increase the volume and speed of data, capital, and labor that can be transported and the distances that they can be transported.
8. By realizing and balancing the benefits of centralization with the benefits of diversity from decentralization. A kind of separation of powers.
That is all for now.