Waves, Particles, Independent Tests, and the Limits of Inductivism

Larry Laudan

in Philosophy of Science Matters

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738625
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894642 | DOI:
Waves, Particles, Independent Tests, and the Limits of Inductivism

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The chapter argues: (1) that Achinstein's construal of theory testing requires both an enumeration, and a systematic refutation, of all possible alternatives to a hypothesis ostensibly under test. Such a demand is generally unrealizable; (2) that his epistemic dismissal of the corroboratory power of confirmed, surprising predictions is at odds with the methods advocated and utilized by most of the principal actors in the wave-particle debates of the nineteenth century; and (3) that his postulate of a shared methodological (and Bayesian) consensus between corpuscularians and undulationists ignores the fact that the wave–particle debate was simultaneously an epistemic controversy about the virtues that an acceptable theory should exhibit.

Keywords: wave–particle debate; consilience of inductions; eliminationism; inductivism

Chapter.  6580 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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