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Philosophy of Science MattersThe Philosophy of Peter Achinstein$
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Gregory J. Morgan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738625.001.0001

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

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

(p.109) 9 Waves, Particles, Independent Tests, and the Limits of Inductivism
Philosophy of Science Matters

Larry Laudan

Oxford University Press

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

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