The esperable uberty of quantum chromodynamics

Within the philosophy of science there has been a great deal of rather vague talk about the 'heuristic fruitfulness' (or what Peirce called the 'esperable uberty') of theories. It is my aim in the present paper to add some precision to these discussions by linking this 'fruitfulness' to the satisfaction of certain heuristic criteria. In this manner the demarcation between 'discovery' and 'pursuit' becomes blurred. As a case study, I present the competition between the paraparticle and colour models of quarks in the late 1960s. I argue that the eventual appraisal of the latter as the more fruitful of the two was based on the incorporation of a particular symmetry principle, regarded as a heuristic guideline, rather than on non-epistemic factors concerning 'cognitive resources' and the like.
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DOI 10.1016/1355-2198(95)00006-F
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S. French & J. Ladyman (1997). Superconductivity and Structures: Revisiting the London Account. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 28 (3):363-393.

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