Journal Article

Drawing Philosophical Lessons from Perrin’s Experiments on Brownian Motion: A Response to van Fraassen

Alan Chalmers

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 62, issue 4, pages 711-732
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axq039
Drawing Philosophical Lessons from Perrin’s Experiments on Brownian Motion: A Response to van Fraassen

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In a recent article, van Fraassen has taken issue with the use to which Perrin’s experiments on Brownian motion have been put by philosophers, especially those defending scientific realism. He defends an alternative position by analysing the details of Perrin’s case in its historical context. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen has not done the job well enough and I extend and in some respects attempt to correct his claims by close attention to the historical details.

1Science versus Metaphysics

2Seeking Empirical Grounding for or Testing the Claims of Theories?

3Atomism and 19th Century Chemistry

4Perrin’s Experimental Findings: Partitioning and Independent Tests

5Testing the Kinetic Theory

6The Status and Significance of the Kinetic Theory after Perrin’s Experiments

Journal Article.  9947 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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