Journal Article

Waves, Particles, and Explanatory Coherence

Chris Eliasmith and Paul Thagard

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 48, issue 1, pages 1-19
Published in print March 1997 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online March 1997 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/48.1.1
Waves, Particles, and Explanatory Coherence

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This paper discusses the nineteenth-century debate concerning the nature of light. We analyse the debate using a computational theory of coherence that models the acceptance of the wave theory of light and the rejection of the particle theory. We show how our analysis of the controversy avoids Achinstein's criticisms of Whe-well's coherentist account, and argue that our interpretation is more computationally tractable and psychologically realistic than Achinstein's probabilistic account.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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