Saving Mach's View on Atoms

Abstract
According to a common belief concerning the Mach-Boltzmann debate on atoms, the new experiments performed in microphysics at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries confirmed Boltzmann's atomic hypothesis and disproved Mach's anti-atomic view. This paper intends to show that this belief is partially unjustified. Mach's view on atoms consists in fact of different kinds of arguments. While the new experiments in microphysics refute indeed his scientific arguments against the atomic hypothesis, his epistemological arguments are unaffected. In this regard, Mach's epistemological approach remains relevant for today's discussion on the status of the notion of atom
Keywords Mach  Atomism  Anti-realism  Instrumentalism  Boltzmann
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    References found in this work BETA
    Manuel Bächtold (2008). Are All Measurement Outcomes “Classical”? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 39 (3):620-633.
    John Blackmore (1985). An Historical Note on Ernst Mach. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36 (3):299-305.
    John Blackmore (1989). Ernst Mach Leaves 'the Church of Physics'. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40 (4):519-540.

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